NT rural market heats up with $61 million of sales: HTW

NT rural market heats up with $61 million of sales: HTW
NT rural market heats up with $61 million of sales: HTW

In the past 12 months, $61 million worth of commercial scale Northern Territory freehold has sold - a strong increase on 2015, according to a recent Herron Todd White (HTW) report.

The property valuation firm says that despite the uptick in sales, water allocation and soils rights in the area are very tight.

“We are aware that Indian Sandalwood growers Quintis (formerly TFS) and also local African mahogany growers are finding it difficult to secure any expansion land that fits the bill,” the report stated.

“This tight supply has potential NT farmers (including foreign buyers) looking at pastoral leasehold land and its potential for landing a diversification permit to develop farm land.

“With improving profits from record live cattle export prices, local cattlemen have also been more active in acquiring smaller freehold (depot type) blocks.”

Sales included Early Storms (above) a well established, 629 hectare melon farm in the Douglas Daly (200 kilometres by road south of Darwin).

It made $9,765 per irrigated hectare over 279 hectares with 7.7 megalitres per hectare per annum ground water allocation.

Phoenix Park (below), on the outskirts of Katherine, was a strategic acquisition by a subsidiary of Hancock as a cattle spelling, feeding and processing facility for the company’s expanding herd in the NT.

NT rural market heats up with  million of sales: HTW

This property last sold in 2008 for $5.8 million with relatively little improvement in between. It comprises a mix of irrigation land (plus land for irrigation expansion), dry land cropping and a spelling yard registered for 20,000 head of 350 kilogram cattle.

Two Rivers, a 14,120 hectare freehold with Stuart Highway frontage, was sold for $2.4 million to a southern family to develop as a live cattle export depot.

HTW said that in the past 12 months, there has more mango plantations sales throughout the Top End than in the past five combined.

Five commercial scale mango farms sold to locals or Australian based companies with long term experience in the NT.

Value rates are steady, generally between $20,000 to $30,000 per planted hectare for mature, old variety trees, with a premium for Calypso at around $40,000 plus per planted hectare.

The Oolloo Farms aggregation of four farms in Darwin, Katherine and Mataranka, sold for around $18 million.

However, HTW noted that the sale included an onerous lease in place to the sitting tenant for a net return of about 8%.

Northern Territory rural purchasers were concerned with long-term goals, according to Herron Todd White’s December 2016 report.

It noted the first Month in Review for 2016 stated that the year was shaping up to be another active year on the pastoral sales front in the Northern Territory and Kimberley.

"It’s fair to say that the year has not disappointed,” the HTW report stated.

"A lot of the interest has come from the big end of town, both overseas and Australian purchasers.

"Many of these purchasers appear to be more concerned with positioning themselves in terms of long term food security than short term price movements.

"However, they are also no doubt benefiting from buoyant live export prices at present.

"Despite the volume of sales this year, there are still parts of the Territory which have not been sold."

Of special interest is Kalala, 3,760 square kilometres at Daly Waters and Mount McMinn, 809 square kilometres, both being actively marketed at present.

At the time of writing these had not sold but we understand that they have both attracted good interest.

The NT government has recently announced a $4.1 million upgrade of the Berrimah Export Yards (the major marshalling point for live cattle exports).

The upgrade will involve construction of two shelters which will accommodate up to 4,000 head of cattle and assist in the year-round processing of cattle.

It has also been an active year for horticultural properties, especially mango plantations. Larger scale plantations such as Pine Creek Mango Plantation and Jabiru Tropical Orchards have sold.

A major Calypso plantation aggregation at Mataranka, Katherine and Berry Springs is also being marketed.

“For our local office, the highlight of the year was definitely the review of the unimproved capital values for the pastoral estate across the Northern Territory, which we carried out on behalf of the Territory Government.

"This project involved re-assessment of the unimproved carrying capacity of every pastoral lease in the Territory on an individual basis, then assessing their unimproved capital values based on this information.

"It was a big undertaking that required us to call in a variety of expert opinions to assist in providing consistency of approach across a variety of country types from Alice Springs to the Top End,” the report stated.

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Northern Territory Htw

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