RECENT rain in the Charters Towers area of North Queensland has lifted eyes towards the sky, valuer Herron Todd White reports in its latest monthly property review.
“There has been some good moisture in the sky with clouds building in the afternoons. Recent events have developed with isolated thunderstorms delivering up to 24mm in the odd spot and barely spit in others,” HTW reported.
“The old saying rings in the ears that where the first break of the season is, that is where it will fall for the oncoming wet season. These are early falls, however they have had immediate effect on the minds of land holders.”
Last wet season, the Charters Towers area (more so to the north) had regular steady rain events, producing a cracking season for some.
Limited country on offer
“From an agricultural perspective, this district has lots to offer,” HTW’s latest property report said.
“Since the area was thrown open to cattle grazing in the 1860s, agriculture has endured the tribulations of drought, disease, flood, commodity market cycles and property market cycles.
“Property market cycles have endured cattle slumps, a millennial boom, a live export ban and now strong demand exists with limited country for sale,” HTW’s report said.
At four of the last five auctions in the Charters Towers region, neighbours were successful in expanding their holdings.
“The auctions of Somerset, Maitland Downs, Reedybrook and Myrrlumbing certainly provided varying gauges of market depth from under-bidders. There have been a few privately negotiated transactions to neighbouring land holders.
“This degree of demand is somewhat different to the post live export ban period where there was limited market interest in northern cattle breeding assets,” HTW said.
Recent auction results, all to neighbours have included:
- Maitland Downs – sold for $9.85 million ($712/ha, $288/ acre) walk in walk out
- Somerset – sold for $4.3 million ($296/ha, $120/acre) bare of livestock, plant and equipment
- Reedybrook – sold for $5.67 million ($603/ha, $244/acre) walk in walk out
- Myrrlumbing – sold for $5.9 million ($373/ha, $150/acre) walk in walk out.
“As usual, it depends what you apportion to cattle and plant, but our bare/improved land rate range from these sales is from $296 per hectare ($120 per acre) to $538 per hectare ($217 per acre),” HTW said.
“Even though these are sales to neighbours, one cannot forget the depth of underbidding to take the buyer to the auctioneer’s drop of the gavel.”
Given the recent rain, last year’s seasonal conditions, cattle demand, interest rates and slim pickings for buyers, only time will tell whether the broader market starts to push value rates higher in the area.
“Certainly, the property market conditions are in the vendor’s favour at present,” HTW said.
“With both neighbours and vendors confident in their property investments and the future, it is very difficult for prospective buyers to invest at present.”