In The Spotlight - Upper Hunter
In the cattle and equine region of New South Wales’ Upper Hunter, Michael Burke is witnessing the best conditions and subsequent demand for rural assets in his 18 years of stock and station agency.
“We’ve had outstanding seasonal conditions since January 2020,” said Burke, Managing Principal of McGrath Upper Hunter. “Barely a month has passed without rainfall, enabling a remarkable recovery from the drought.”
Similar to what’s played out in the state’s regional areas, demand for quality grazing and cropping assets has outstripped supply in the Upper Hunter and surrounds. Robust offers have been commonplace; Burke estimated the price of land had increased as much as 40-50% across areas of the catchment over the last 24 months.
The intergenerational changeover of land in the region has continued with larger than normal volumes of transactions taking place post drought from 2020. New listings are starting to tighten-up but the appetite has remained strong for opportunities that arise.
“What we’re seeing right now are conditions that every regional area aspires to have."
“We’ve got strong commodity prices, export markets are looking very positive, a robust summer crop season, ideal winter crop planting conditions and an Australian Dollar that supports our farming sector."
“At Scone’s Fat Cattle sales, vendors have achieved sales of as much $6-7kg (lwt) for quality Angus mixed sex weaners, and the auctions plus results for breeding stock are outstanding, so everyone has high spirits at the moment.”
Over the last two years, new record prices have been set at regular intervals across the region for both property and livestock. Days on market have been reflective of demand, with sub-30 day campaigns for quality listings an increasingly common occurrence.
Late last year, McGrath Upper Hunter settled a horse and cattle property at Timor which hosted improvements including a contemporary three bedroom homestead, stables, 800 head steel yarding, workers’ accommodation on more than 4000 acres. The property sold above the bank valuation of $11.25m.
If favourable rainfall figures and commodity prices continued into 2022, Burke anticipated the demand for farmland delivering sellers record prices per acre for good quality assets, would remain.
“An advantage of the McGrath network is our connections with high net-worth buyers reached through our extensive database and unparalleled marketing. Stock is transacting in record times for record amounts, with buyers coming from throughout eastern states who appreciate quality. The McGrath reach has proven itself to be invaluable".
“While we’ve seen some outstanding property sales throughout the region, there are still some pockets with upside and they’ll be interesting to watch over the year. The return on investment for agricultural assets has been outstanding, and the outlook looks very positive”.