Roma sales add to stabilising property market mood

James Nason, 20/08/2013

Glenmore at Surat was carrying 270 cows and calves and 80 dry cattle when it went to auction last Friday. A western Queensland rural property agent says the sale of two properties under the hammer at Roma last Friday has added to signs property values are stabilising and buyers are increasingly willing to meet the market at current price levels.

The properties sold were the 7246 hectare (17,905 acre) Glenmore at Surat and the 2053 hectare (5073 acre) Redfern neat Mitchell.

Glenmore, with a vendor-estimated carrying capacity of 500 cows, sold to Biloela district cattle producers Steve and Margaret Johnston for $975,000, a price which equates to $54 an acre.

Redfern, with an estimated carrying capacity of 220 cows plus weaners, was knocked down to Mitchell district cattle producers Warren and Jane Wilson of Redbank, Mitchell, for $440,000, converting to $85/acre.

While both properties were at the smaller end of the area-scale, the high levels of inquiry they generated, and the strong interest witnessed for other listed properties in recent weeks, has caused some surprise in what has long been a subdued market climate.

Selling agent Rob Wildermuth from Ray White Rural at Roma said Redfern had attracted 20 inspections prior to auction and Glenmore 10. Last Friday’s auction was attended by 80 people with 16 parties from Queensland and NSW registering to bid.

Both holdings were carrying regrowth timber and were considered development blocks with potential for further improvement. Conditions at Redfern were described as very dry while Glenmore is experiencing an average season.

Mr Wildermuth said there were not many properties available for genuine sale on the current market, and vendors who were serious about selling were finding buyers.

“There is a feeling in the market that anyone who is going to auction under the current circumstances is a fair dinkum seller," Mr Wildermuth said.

“The buyers out there are prepared to buy, and I think a lot of them are of the opinion that we are probably at the bottom of the market.”

Mr Wildermuth said surprisingly strong inquiry has also been evident in the first week of a campaign to sell 185,000 acre Wyandra district cattle breeding property Spring Creek.

The property, also experiencing a dry season, came on the market last week and had attracted 16 inquiries by Monday, Mr Wildermuth said, reinforcing the perspective that people were actively looking for country to buy.

“The amount of inquiry has blown me away,” Mr Wildermuth told Beef Central yesterday.

“Because of its size it is certainly up in another price bracket compared to the two that sold at Roma last week.

“To see that amount of inquiry so quickly is quite amazing. Quite often in these campaigns your first week can be a bit slow while people have a look and a think and act in the second week.”

Activity reflects slightly improving mood: HTW

In its latest monthly market overview national valuation firm Herron Todd White notes that receivers remain very active in the market, with a number of properties in the process of either being settled or being prepared for sale.

These sales will play an important role in establishing the current position of the market in some of Australia’s most important cattle producing areas.

Prominent among these is the sale of NT Gulf properties La Belle Downs and the adjoining Welltree Station. Owner RM Williams Agricultural Holdings has been placed into receivership and the receivers have indicated they will seek a sale, with the combined 1000 square kilometre holding now being marketed by Colliers Real Estate.

The properties contain some of the Northern Territory’s best regarded coastal plains country and the sale process is expected to provide an important barometer of beast area value levels in the Top End. 

At the same time HTW also points to recent activity as a sign of potential improvements in the mood of the general market.

In Southern Queensland market activity has included the recent sale of Nooyeah Downs at Thargomindah, in addition to reports of increased corporate interest in the better class of Cunnamulla/Quilpie grazing country.

Central Queensland has also witnessed an increase in the number of rural sales compared to the previous two years.

These sales included a number of high-valued, large-scale properties which have met good demand.

“In our view this is not an indication of an improvement in values, but more so recognition of where values may stabilise,” the HTW report said. 

The major recent CQ cattle property sale of note involved the pre-auction sale of Glenprairie for $28 million to Peter Camm. The price paid for the 27,000 hectare (66,000 acre) holding of highly improved marine plain, developed forest, and steeper range country breaks down to a rate of $1,034 per hectare ($418 per acre) and a beast area value sub $3000 per unit.

Also notable was Moura district mixed scrub and soft forest property Rhydding, which recently sold for $6.5 million at auction to a grazier disposed by the Connors River Dam resumption. The same property had previously sold in April 2004 for $6.55 million.

The recent sale reflected a rate of about $1231 per hectare ($498 per acre) or around $3500 per beast area.

The ‘Adelong’ aggregation south west of Blackwater was another high value sale, bought by a nearby land owner for $23 million.

The property of 19,404 hectares (47,900 acres) comprises high quality dryland farming country, balanced by improved scrub grazing land and a percentage of inferior range. The sale reflects about $1185 per hectare ($480 per acre) or about $2850 per beast areas for the grazing lands, excluding cultivations.

Further north the recent sale of the 4800 square kilometre NT Gulf property Calvert Hills by an established Queensland pastoralist for a reported $15 million Walk In Walk Out has added to signs of growing market confidence.

“Activity such as this, and other NT/Kimberley pastoral property which is under negotiation, provides some confidence that buyers may now be finally starting to act,” HTW said.

“The recent decision by Indonesia to increase their live cattle import cap by 25,000 is a further source of comfort to Top End pastoralists.”


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