Western Victoria and southeastern South Australia rural markets remain resilient during COVID-19 pandemic: HTW rural

Staff reporterAugust 24, 20200 min read

During the early panic-stricken days of COVID-19 in March, a number of agents in Western Victoria and southwestern South Australia advised of cropping and grazing buyers pulling offers on properties going to tender due to the significant uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, according to the June Herron Todd White (HTW) rural report.

The valuation firm looked at the influence of trade wars, pandemic outcomes and commodity prices on the rural sector, and provided an update of how rural real estate is performing across locations and industries. 

"Weeks on, those offers being pulled from the market really seem immaterial as the properties sold regardless and farmers more generally have gained confidence that they are a required essential service, maybe more so than ever.  They are also probably the least likely to be stopped in their tracks due to social distancing requirements," the valuation firm said.

The current depth of demand in the market for cropping and grazing land is significant and demand still far outweighs supply in most areas.

Cropping and grazing farmers in this region have been lucky in recent times to avoid the bushfires and droughts of the recent past and continue to go about their daily business on farm.

Many farmers are currently getting ready to or have already started to sow their winter crops.

The report notes sales remain few and far between due to a limited supply to the market but every sale appears to be setting a new benchmark with cropping country in the Wimmera reaching over $9880 per hectare for smaller parcels and grazing land down south well over $12,350 per hectare.

Labour shortages may be an issue for the more northern fruit picking markets but from all reports, this region appears to be attracting its sons and daughters back to farms from hospitality and associated city lives during this crisis.

"With reports of daughters driving tractors and kids helping move sheep, ag is looking sexier than ever to some of the younger generation who are starting to appreciate the lucky country we live in," the valuation firm said. 

Some of the more intensive asset classes in this region are having mixed results from the pandemic, the report suggested. 

Vegetable producers in particular and producers supplying the major supermarkets struggled to keep up with demand during the early days of hoarding which resulted in a spike in vegetable prices to the farm gate.

On the flip side, those exporting produce overseas or selling into premium markets have been hard hit and left with excess produce in some instances. This is especially evident in the wine regions of the Coonawarra and Barossa where wineries, cellar doors and many associated food and tourism businesses have been decimated by the closure of their export or local markets and tourism.

The report notes the flow on effect to producers is evident. It is these sub-regions and intensive businesses that are generally the source of the largest proportion of employment in these areas.

"The impacts of the pandemic will likely have a lasting impact on these local economies, however, the Australian ag sector more generally remains incredibly resilient and it will likely take more than this pandemic to keep it down," the valuation firm said. 

A current listing is a lifestyle property nestled in the centre of the Grampian Ranges. 

The 2633 Victoria Valley Road, Victoria Valley property (pictured above) has been listed with a price guide of $760,000.

Set on near 18ha, the property comprises of a three bedroom residence, airstrip, shearing sheds, aircraft hangar and workshop. 

A 32ha lifestyle property set on the foothills of the Grampians National Park has recently been sold for $210,000.

The 145 Regulating Basin Road, Mafeking property (pictured above) features sound boundary fencing, native trees, dam and Grampians views. 



Staff reporter

Rural Market
Herron Todd White
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