Barcaldine emerges as rural property hotspot as pastoral buyers move west

CENTRAL West Queensland has emerged as one of the strongest performing rural property markets in the country following a sharp uplift in land values over the past 12 to 18 months, driven by transactions including the record-breaking sale of “The Patrick”.


Settled in December 2021, the 16,547-hectare Barcaldine district holding, comprising 14,155 hectares of freehold and 2,392 hectares of leasehold land, sold for $1,057 per hectare. This placed the transaction $69 per hectare ahead of the previous regional record of $988 per hectare paid for the Boorara Aggregation in January last year.


LAWD Senior Director and respected agricultural valuer, Tim McKinnon, said the Central West had been homed in on by buyers who had shifted their geographic area of consideration due to unprecedented demand and escalated budgets for quality grazing land.


“What we have seen is a rapid increase in values in areas further inland having a knock-on effect in pushing both the family-owned enterprises and corporates, which have been unsuccessful in securing land near places like Emerald and Roma, to the west,” Mr McKinnon said.


“All of this price activity is underwritten by a foundation of record high cattle prices, low interest rates and strong seasonal conditions, and in the Central West a return to consistent rainfall after 10 to 15 years of very dry weather has been an additional influencing factor driving local values.”


Mr McKinnon said the exceptional performance of the agriculture industry was also demanding generational shifts in business operations and expansion.


“For years beef businesses were doing it tough with stagnant cattle prices, drought conditions and higher interest rates, and that was pushing down on values in pastoral regions, however younger families now have the confidence to come back to the farm business,” he said.


“The Central West has attracted great attention because it is easily accessible to larger breeding operations in the north and is close to key markets. It also has very good road access to southern feedlots.”


The Patrick vendor, Andrew Kibble, who oversees a growing portfolio of rural properties throughout Queensland and New South Wales, said the sale of “The Patrick” was a strategic reallocation of capital to facilitate more broadscale investment in the agriculture sector.


“We find the Barcaldine area excellent given its vicinity to livestock selling centres such as Roma and Dalby, where stock can be transported without the requirement for spelling,” Mr Kibble said.


“We’ve been actively seeking a larger holding either in the Central West or the Northern Territory which we will use to, along with our other breeding properties, feed stock into our backgrounding country at Glenmorgan.


“I am now very focused on improving our next- door aggregation, “Barcaldine Downs”, and pursuing a large expansion in the agriculture sector.”


LAWD Director and “The Patrick” marketing agent, Simon Cudmore, said he foresaw ongoing demand for land throughout the Central West in 2022.


“I would expect that holdings that have benefited from an average or better wet season will continue to be in demand throughout this year, with the continuation of a positive commodity outlook and low interest rates maintaining a high level of producer confidence,” Mr Cudmore said.