ILLUSIONS: Rural real estate agent Lex Townsend says his experience is the region's farm values have gone up in the past year, despite a drop reported in the Rural Bank's 2018 sales report.
ILLUSIONS: Rural real estate agent Lex Townsend says his experience is the region's farm values have gone up in the past year, despite a drop reported in the Rural Bank's 2018 sales report. Troy Jegers

The surprise change in Gympie's farm sale prices

A SURPRISE drop in Gympie's median farmland values in the latest Rural Bank sales report has turned out to be an "illusion” caused by a shift in the market.

Two of the region's rural real estate experts were surprised at the Rural Bank's latest Australian Farmland Values report, which revealed Gympie's median farmland sale price per hectare dropped 12.1 per cent in the past year and now sits at $4413.

It is a stark contrast to the state trend where values were up 15.7 per cent.

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"I wouldn't have thought there's any drop at all,” rural agent Tom Grady said.

The Professionals' Lex Townsend agreed the "value of good quality farmland has gone up”.

"From what I see they haven't dropped.”

Tom Grady
Tom Grady. Troy Jegers

And it turns out Mr Grady and Mr Townsend are on the money despite what the report suggests.

Rural Bank Knowledge and Insights manager Matt Ough said what the data actually captured was a move to "two distinct markets” in the past year.

Mr Ough said in 2018 there fewer sales in the region's higher value 30-50ha market (where the median was $10,267/ha).

Although it had only been a drop of eight sales, he said that still made a big difference when the region had 70 farmland sales all up.

The change was in the 200ha-plus market ($1959/ha in the south), where nine more properties sold.

CATTLE SALE: Numbers reduced and prices increased at sale yards across southwest Queensland.
Cattle. Madeline Grace

It was, he said, a 28.6 per cent growth for that part of the market.

And this combination skewed the median.

Even the 10-year average in the report - a drop of 0.9 per cent - was "making the illusion it's all negative”.

"That's not actually the case,” Mr Ough said.

He said over the past 20 years the region's median price per hectare had increased by 4.9 per cent.

Shane Hickey's dairy farm on Lynch's Creek Rd near Wiangaree.
More larger properties have sold in the past year around the region. Susanna Freymark

This puts it more in line with the wider growth trend.

Which also lined up with Mr Grady's experience.

"Up and down the river in the past few years there have been properties selling for $7000-$8000 per acre,” Mr Grady said.

In the past year he put the the average price rise at "about 5 per cent”.

Cattle tuck in to a new batch of feed at the Brindley Park feedlot.
Cattle tuck in to a new batch of feed. Rebecca George

Overall, the region's total transactions were down 12.5 per cent, from 80 in 2017 to 70 last year.

State-wide, the median price was $4689, and farmland sales values had grown by 7.5 per cent in the past 10 years.

In the southern region where Gympie is grouped, the average was $6187/ha in 2018.