This week, the Valuer General’s 2020 Property market Movement Report was released, comprising the annual statutory land valuations for 21 local government areas totalling approximately 825,000 valuations or 48 per cent of all properties in Queensland. From this, there are continued signs of strength in some areas of Queensland’s property market. Generally, across Queensland there has been increased sales activity in rural markets despite recent devastating fires, heavy rains and flooding, a continuing drought and the seasonal threat of cyclones. As a result, the 1,799 farming valuations this year have seen an uplift in land values of around 30 to 80 per cent within the majority of grazing, horticultural, small crop and dryland farming industries.
This market confidence has generally been driven by the continued effects of the forecasted high value of Australian agricultural production, and low interest rates. Rural land values have continued to grow on the back of landowner expectations. The bulk of market purchases are largely by existing family businesses acquiring additional property, using scale to deliver farming operation efficiencies. Potential purchasers are taking a long-term view of the current drought situation with regards to acquisition, but still remain cautious. Queensland has not seen a good season for some time, and most farmers are still waiting for sustained rains to increase production after the prolonged drought conditions.
However, as agricultural land values rise, some farmers are becoming liable for greater land tax and their local government rates are increasing. With Queensland’s intensive industries maintaining high throughput businesses which require water, energy and feed, farmers are facing greater financial pressure as their profitability margins are eroded and their business viability is threatened. Any farmer in Queensland who does not agree with their 2020 their statutory land valuation may lodge an objection demonstrating why the valuation in incorrect and do so within 60 days of the date of issue of the valuation notice, that is by Tuesday, 5 May 2020. While agricultural property market values are positive, the cumulative impact of government policies across portfolios and high input prices remain a significant issue for farmers.