Australian agricultural land sales, including hobby farms, commercial farms and cattle stations hit $16.79 billion in the year to August with NSW, the biggest market by value, showing a strong rise.
Agricultural property sales in that state totalled $8.2 billion over the period, an increase of 3.8 per cent according to the Landmark Harcourts' quarterly Benchmark Report.
Throughout the 12,519 agricultural property sales recorded during that time one of the biggest deals included the purchase of Deltroit Station in the Gundagai district of NSW.
MH Premium Farms, the Australian agricultural operation of global fund manager Sir Michael Hintze, bought the 2573 hectare undulating farming and grazing country.
In Victoria it was a different story, with the total value of agricultural property sales in that state recorded at $3.7 billion over the year, down 13.3 per cent on the total value of sales achieved in the 12 months to August last year.
However, Landmark Harcourts' Adrian Smith in Ballarat said there had been very strong demand for farms in the last few months and that more sales evidence was emerging that showed values on the rise.
He said an auction of the 236-hectare property called Brewster outside of Ballarat achieved a price of $8450 per hectare – when the market had been expecting about $7400.
In Queensland, agricultural property sales totalled $1.7 billion over the year and despite lower volumes, the value of sales was 3 per cent higher than the 12 months to August last year.
During that period of time some major deals were transacted, including that of Macquarie Group's Paraway Pastoral. The fund, backed by an offshore pension fund, paid more than $135 million for two cattle stations owned by the Western Grazing Company.
Around the same time Queensland Investment Corporation, owned by the state government, purchased an 80 per cent stake in the $519 million cattle station operator North Australian Pastoral Company NAPCo.
Queensland has seen a further rise in sales since August with cattleman Peter Hughes buying Tumbar station south of Jericho in central Queensland for about $57 million.
In SA, the total value of agricultural sales was $964.2 million over the 12 months to August 2016, 14.5 per cent higher than the 12 months to August.
In WA, the total value of the agricultural sales was $1.7 billion, 2.9 per cent above the previous corresponding period.
Western Australia's southwest region has experienced an above average rainfall season. Landmark's Chris Waddingham said since August sales have picked up.
"With this rainfall, coupled with the very buoyant livestock industry and renewed optimism in rural property investment, sales transactions have increased during the traditional spring selling season."
In Tasmania, agricultural property sales totalled $526.1 million over the year, 9.5 per cent lower than the previous year.
This story first appeared on The Australian Financial Review.