Australia's top five livestock regions for 2021 have been revealed in terms of booming property sales results.
One of the nation's biggest rural real estate firms, Elders Ltd, has taken a deep dive into farmland sales over the past few years to come up with the list which might surprise some people.
The top five.
1 - North-east Victoria (Alexandra, Benalla, Mansfield, Wangaratta and Wodonga).
Beef cattle are the major livestock enterprise followed by sheep, dairy and wool.
The rolling annual median price per hectare averaged a quarterly rise of 10.3pc in 2021.
2 - South-east South Australia (Kingston, Naracoorte, Millicent, Mount Gambier and Robe).
Mixed livestock region with beef, dairy, sheep and wool. Median quarterly price rise 8.4pc.
3 - South-west Western Australia (Boyup Brook, Bunbury, Donnybrook, Harvey, Manjimup and Margaret River).
Mixed livestock region with beef, dairy, sheep and wool. Median quarterly price rise 8.1pc.
4 - South Queensland (Bundaberg, Dalby, Gympie, Kingaroy, Toowoomba and Warwick).
Beef cattle are the major livestock enterprise in the region. Median quarterly price rise 7pc.
5 - Central Queensland (Emerald, Gayndah, Moranbah, Rockhampton and Taroom).
Beef cattle are the major livestock enterprise in the region. Median quarterly price rise 7.4pc.
The top five are ranked according to quarterly compound average growth rate for 2021.
The report's author, Matt Ough from Elders, said commodity price has been a linking factor between regions along with favourable seasonal conditions.
Mr Ough said record low interest rates had to be backed by on-farm profitability to justify a property purchase.
"Beef cattle prices have had a major impact on median price per hectare growth in livestock regions across the country. That's not to downplay the impact of a reliable lamb market or high milk prices," he said.
While the average national trade steer prices rose 29pc last year it's been the price increase since 2019 which highlights the significance of beef cattle prices in the appreciation of rural property values, he said.
Since 2019 average national trade steer prices have increased by 71.2pc.
"The rapid price increase coincides with a change in weather pattern conducive to restocking at a point of low supply. Queensland was the state with the most to gain from this combination after a tough period of drought and stagnant property prices.
In contrast, average trade lamb prices increased by 6pc in 2021 and 12.4pc since 2019.
"However, lamb prices have been steadily trending higher for several years underpinning property purchases in mixed farming regions of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria."
Mr Ough said another key was proximity to rural centres which opened up interest to lifestyle buyers.
Sales of 40-50 hectare blocks have jumped more than a third across Australia since 2019.
Mr Ough said demand was driven in part by lifestyle buyers but also by demand from graziers in regions where parcel size is naturally smaller such as north-east Victoria and south-west Western Australia.
The result is ultimately more competition for land around regional centres and more incentive for sellers to list.
Generational change is another driver which has anecdotally resulted in a higher volume of listings in several regions across the country, he said.
Mr Ough also asked Elders staff in each region for the inside knowledge on what makes that region so appealing.
1 - North-east Victoria.
"The region is renowned for its reliability, proximity and diversity of enterprises," according to Elders Real Estate state manager Victoria and Riverina, Nick Myer.
"Large rural centres add an element of interest for lifestyle properties, while reliable rainfall and efficient access to a variety of markets make it an attractive region for livestock producers."
"Smaller parcels were transacted at a higher rate in 2021, however the strongest increase in median price per hectare was for larger properties. Buyers have drawn confidence from high commodity prices and good long-term prospects for both profitability and capital growth.
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"Like most regions, demand has exceeded supply, a trend which is likely to continue."
2 - South-east South Australia.
"The south-east region enjoys proximity to several markets with infrastructure creating a seamless link to South Australian ports and processing facilities but also quick access to Victorian markets with links to Portland," Grant Schubert from Elders Real Estate (south-east SA) said.
"Access to water is a key consideration in the region, adding reliability and a scenario whereby intensive farming has grown and will likely continue to grow, offering further support for land prices.
"In 2021 obviously red meat prices increased confidence in the rural property market, however, the trend in rising confidence extends beyond the recent peaks. Evidence of beef prices holding firm in 2022 highlights strong underlying demand for the product.
3 - South-west Western Australia.
"Following a number of years of stable prices and limited growth, farmland values in the south-west have definitely seen significant uplift in the past 24 months," WA state manager (Elders Real Estate) Simon Cheetham said.
"This growth has in large part been aided by strong cattle prices, low interest rates and only a limited number of properties coming onto the market.
"For a period, large areas of ex-blue gum plantations were offered to the market, with many of these having been purchased by farmers and reverted to productive grazing land. However, far fewer ex-plantation properties are coming onto the market today.
"Horticulture, viticulture, lifestyle and forestry also play an important role in the south-west property market, with demand from these buyers also strengthening in the past 24 months."
4 - South Queensland.
"South Queensland is a region with proximity to several desirable rural centres as well as the city of Brisbane," said Trevor Leishman, Elders (Toowoomba).
"There's a larger population compared to other grazing regions around the country.
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"These factors, when combined with favourable commodity prices and low interest rates, create a scenario where there's multiple types of buyers for a listing. As a result, demand remains very high compared to supply, pushing prices higher.
"While local graziers do compete for neighbouring properties, outside buyers seeking a multi title property as both a future subdivision opportunity and a reliable farm, make up a large percentage of the market."
5 - Central Queensland.
"Central Queensland covers a vast area containing more cattle than the whole of the Northern Territory," according to Virgil Kenny from Elders (Rockhampton).
"The region is very important for the beef industry and its home to several large family farms which are quick to purchase neighbouring properties when the opportunity comes up.
"Much of the region has been developed over the years, with improved pastures and legumes offering vigorous growth potential in response to rainfall.
"Undoubtedly a surge in cattle prices combined with low interest rates and improved seasonal conditions has led to a scenario of very high demand for grazing properties. Buyers in the region are looking into land purchases as being more secure and having greater returns than money in the bank, they see land as having a better rate of return in the long run."
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