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Regional Market Gets Results for Savvy Sellers

By Rosie Barton

While city markets are softening, the New South Wales’ regional property market is quietly soaring. Real estate agent George Southwell of Ray White Rural Canberra / Yass says that recent auction results in the Snowy Mountains and Yass Valley have blown expectations out of the water.

Mr Southwell said that the asset class of rural land has increased the greatest in value compared to any other asset class in Australia in the last three years. “These little towns and their surrounding farms are outperforming the cities quite clearly. Out here in the country, we have known for years that the bush is the place to live and, in the Yass Valley particularly, we have the best of both worlds with easy access to city amenities and wide open spaces on our front doorstep.”

He listed three recent properties that had eyebrows raised at their enduringly strong prices.  ‘Dixieland’ on 940 hectares of Snowy Mountain grazing country sold post-auction for $5,250,000 to a Southern Highland/ Canberra based buyer this month.  “The 12 registered auction bidders were attracted to its lake and dam shoreline, an engineering feat which would be rare to see elsewhere; and its classy water sports and trout fishing credentials, having hosted the state and national Fly Fishing Championships. At the time of selling, the land was grazing around 1,900 Merino sheep.”

“This property was the selling family’s pride and joy for the last 50 years. It is a special part of the Snowy Mountains and it is amazing to see it being so comprehensively revitalised with the Snowy 2.0.” 240 kilometres north in Lade Vale, a 280 acre “true little farm” named ‘Ferndale’ sold recently for $1,554,000.

“At Ferndale we had 21 inspections, 65 enquiries, and five registered bidders. Vendor Mark Findlay says he and his parents are “delighted with the outcome”.

“People have to commit a lot of time to go and see this particular property. We were happily surprised with the number of people that came through and registered to bid,” Mr Findlay said. “The selling team had a sophisticated approach to their marketing and that came through in the result.”

Another happy seller in the region is Jane MacCulloch who just sold her 9.5 hectare property under the hammer for $1,385,000. The property generates income via a rare true passive solar design. “For me this property has been a long term dream, to live in harmony with the planet, embodying all that technology enables in ecologically sustainable way of living,” Ms MacCulloch said.

“The market was indicating that it could be a good time to sell for my own financial well-being, and I shopped around for agents.” “In the end I went with the Ray White Rural team because they advised price potential in the ballpark of what I thought was a fair and right price. The end result was even better than I thought and it helps me be that bit more financially secure into the future.”

Ms MacCulloch’s unique ‘Barranjack Downs’ property saw 110 inquiries mainly from Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, resulting in 36 inspections. On auction day, five registered bidders came from nearby Yass and Canberra as well as Sydney, Newcastle, and Jindabyne. “Nothing’s a guarantee but I did feel that the market was in my favour,” Ms MacCulloch said.  “It was difficult to gauge for a property like mine as there’s nothing really comparable in the area. Ultimately the selling agent, David Alexander, and his team had the professionalism and resources to attract the type of buyers I knew were out there.”

These successes mirror Ray White economist Nerida Conisbee’s most recent analysis which shows that population growth in regional and outer suburban areas during the pandemic had in many instances outperformed the growth in those same areas during the past 20 years.

“To work out the areas that benefited most from the pandemic, we looked at population growth per annum during the pandemic (2019 to 2021) and compared it to the long term average (2001 to 2021),” Ms Conisbee said. “The majority of top pandemic growth regions were either outer suburban areas of capital cities or regional locations close to capital cities.”

“It is possible that many of these areas will see even greater population growth in the next 12 months. International borders are open again which means that migration to Australia is starting up again. The momentum in many of these areas is set to continue,” the analysis concluded.  Meanwhile, Mr Southwell says that he remains optimistic that first home buyers, tree-changers, and retirees alike will continue to seek to invest in regional areas, since conditions and demand have produced the results that many previously assumed were only available in metropolitan markets.

“We are seeing more and more young people enter the rural property market. It is something really exciting to be a part of – our rural communities are in safe hands if we continue to see people moving into the area and establishing themselves here early in their careers,” Mr Southwell said.

“Let’s hope our lenders and government keep giving these young people and families the support and confidence they need to make these big decisions.”

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