Rural land is always a safe haven in uncertain times, a south-west real estate agent says.
Charles Stewart Real Estate director Nick Adamson said the rural property market had just come off a very buoyant spring and summer selling season and there had been a lot of properties sold in western Victoria.
He said it had been so strong that they were now "light on" for listings.
"There still appears to be more demand than supply out there," Mr Adamson said
"There is not a lot of rural property on the market in western Victoria at the moment."
Mr Adamson said the lack of supply was a bigger issue for the rural real estate market than the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Despite the turbulent times in which we live, the agricultural sector may be a guiding light which is providing an ongoing appetite for high rainfall, versatile and productive rural land," he said. "I think the demand for rural land will continue to be strong. I can't see it falling.
"The demand still seems very sound. The fundamentals are still very strong, the drivers - the commodity prices, the interest rates, the dollar, diesel is something that's come into the equation in the last two or three months."
Mr Adamson said it remained to be seen whether there was any nervousness in the rural market due to the pandemic. "It could drive it higher but it won't affect it to the extent it's affecting other categories of real estate, particularly metropolitan residential real estate," he said.
"We're lucky in Warrnambool, and the agricultural district that surrounds it, whilst we're not untouched we're very much at arms length really in relation to say the metropolitan areas and global situation."
Mr Adamson said agricultural commodities remained at historically high levels. "It's fair to say that most cropping farmers in western Victoria 'hit the jackpot' last harvest with both high yield and strong prices," he said.
While there had been some downturn in recent weeks in export categories of red meat, probably due to the pandemic, prices were still strong, Mr Adamson said.
"Though there is some talk of global milk prices falling into the future, the competition for domestic supply due to drought-induced constraints on supply and low Australian dollar appears to be buffering the global market," he said.
"The only one that's really suffering out of the COVID situation has been probably wool." He said China was one of the major buyers of Australian wool and that buying support had been lacking in the last two or three months.
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