The "insatiable" demand for farming land around Australia shows no signs of slowing despite the skyhigh prices.
One of the nation's biggest rural real estate firms, Elders Ltd, has taken a close look into national sale results and found the white-hot demand for farm land pushed prices up almost 20 per cent last year from the year before.
It was a record rise.
The value of rural property traded nationally last year totalled $13.3 billion, a rise of $1.7 billion from 2020.
Elders' latest Rural Property Update shows price per hectare continued to rise in the last quarter of 2021, with the national median price per hectare increasing by 3.6 per cent.
Year on year the rise was 18.4 per cent.
The national median price of farm land is now $7635 per hectare or $3091 an acre.
Elders collated prices for every rural property sale above 40ha in partnership with Corelogic (aside from Tasmania where properties above 30ha were also included).
Elders executive general manager (real estate) Tom Russo said last year there was even greater confidence in agriculture due to exceptional seasonal conditions, high commodity prices and low interest rates.
"There remains a seemingly insatiable appetite for Australian farmland from both local players and large institutional investors," Mr Russo said.
The land price rises are being driven by strong demand in Queensland (up 26.9 per cent), South Australia (up 32 per cent) and Tasmania (up 37.7 per cent).
In contrast, the median price hectare fell in New South Wales (down 0.7 per cent) and Western Australia (down 25.2 per cent) from their already high levels.
States with the increase saw high demand for both quality broadacre properties and highly sought-after lifestyle properties, particularly in South Australia and Victoria.
In NSW, a larger amount of cropping country sold at the end of last year which traditionally attracts a lower price per hectare compared with high rainfall grazing and lifestyle parcels.
The national rise across the year was driven by WA's staggering 41 per cent increase driven by the strength of the grain industry and a tight supply of properties.
The number of sale transactions rose by 3.4 per cent in 2021, to 9098 properties, the highest volume since 2017.
Elders said the rise was caused primarily by an influx of listings in the South Australian market (up 18.1 per cent), particularly in cropping regions, and an increase of 13.5 per cent in NSW.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Elders says the volume of farm land for sale is likely to tighten even further this year as volumes have been declining since midway through 2021.
Elders says the reasons people, many of them neighbours, are prepared to pay record prices are the same reasons most farmers are hanging onto their land, creating this situation where demand is outstripping supply.
"Perhaps the most important long-term factor driving property prices is a belief in the continuation of strong market fundamentals for most Australian farmland outputs," Elders said.
"Demand is strong for Australian grains, oilseeds, meat, dairy and fibre products, with experts, family farmers and investors believing this is likely to continue for some time.
"However, we have recently seen rural property values rise faster than commodity prices which points to a greater influence of non-commodity price factors such as low interest rates and access to equity from existing holdings, influencing decisions to buy land.
"This has made farming families the most competitive sector of the market for rural property."
Aside from profiting from high prices and generational changes, there are few reasons for sellers to list, Elders says.
"Sellers looking to egress the sector are benefitting from relatively tight transaction volumes driving prices higher and making for a more competitive sales landscape," Mr Russo said.
"With a number of factors driving confidence in rural property investment and interest rates to remain relatively low, we expect supply will tighten further in 2022, suggesting further growth in median price per hectare."