Northern land prices growing in value

By Alana Christensen

Northern Victorian farm values are on the rise, with hundreds of farms going on the market last year.

A report by Rural Bank reveals the median price of northern Victorian farms jumped by 6.4 per cent in 2017, driven by a larger percentage of high value sales in the municipalities of Loddon, Benalla and Strathbogie.

The municipalities of Moira, Mitchell, Gannawarra and Greater Shepparton also registered higher value per hectare than their previous three year averages, while Campaspe and Mansfield registered lower average prices per hectare for 2017 compared to the previous three years.

Benalla registered the largest difference in the region, with the 2017 average per ha being $1328 higher than the previous three-year average, with the average price per hectare in the region of $7531.

People are increasingly selling off farms, however, with transactions up 1.7 per cent as 377 properties across seven municipalities were sold in the past 12 months, with the jump in transactions driven by an increase in transaction value in the municipalities of Loddon and Wangaratta.

Kevin Hicks Real Estate director Kevin Hicks said the increasing value of dryland had helped to underpin steady values in irrigated land.

‘‘(Those) looking for horticulture and vegetable properties are assisting in some of the smaller irrigation parcels so they’re migrating (to the area) because of irrigation and soil profile,’’ Mr Hicks said.

‘‘They’re certainly assisting with the 50 to 150 acre (20ha to 60ha) sized properties.

‘‘There has been more dairy interest, it’s passive but is definitely stronger ... the unfortunate part is the water component, with irrigation value increasing with a prolonged dry period.

‘‘The land value of irrigated land without water share has remained firm but is certainly not getting any dearer.’’

Mr Hicks said lifestyle properties close to town centres such as Shepparton had become increasingly popular, as buyers enjoy the benefits of country living with the infrastructure provided by a regional centre.

The value of a hectare of land in City of Greater Shepparton currently sits at $6818/ha, well above the three-year average of $6173/ha.