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‘Seismic shift’ in values

Property values in the Murray region are continuing to rise. Photo by baona

Property values in the Murray region are increasing as locals continue to ride the wave of a lucrative real estate boom, and developers with a keen interest in Deniliquin and district are circling.

And with no one single factor driving the increased interest, local real estate experts say the boom is likely to continue for some time yet.

In fact, they say regional developments may even drive further increases in demand and values.

The NSW Valuer General has this week reported that land values across the Murray region have ‘‘experienced a very strong increase since July 1, 2020’’.

And it says the NSW Murray has seen the largest increase in rural land values across the state — 43.1 per cent.

The rural land increase has been driven primarily by continued strong commodity prices, limited supply and sustained demand for good quality farming, mixed cultivation and grazing lands.

Land values are influenced by property sales, and with local real estate agents reporting record sales in all categories in the last 12 months or longer, the increase is no surprise.

While the NSW Valuer General has not released specific details relating to residential land values in the Murray region, Ray White Deniliquin real estate agent Lester Wheatley described what we have seen in the last six to 12 months as a ‘‘seismic shift’’.

And he said it’s only increased since the Valuer General’s reporting period closed on July 1 last year.

‘‘I have not seen such an escalation in land values in my 40 years in the industry,’’ Mr Wheatley said.

‘‘There have been huge increases across the board, and demand is out stripping supply two to one.

‘‘It is driven by low interest rates and the desire for people to relocate out of more densely populated areas.

‘‘The opening of the second bridge at Echuca-Moama is likely to have an even greater impact on those figures, by shortening the time is takes to get from Melbourne to Deniliquin.

‘‘We’re also seeing favourable seasonal conditions, a resurgence in agriculture, positive feedback on the town beautification and despite land value increases, Deni is still a very affordable place to live.

‘‘So I do think this trend can only continue. In fact, I think Deniliquin is only now catching up to where other areas have been.’’

The only factor potentially standing in the way of the continued property boom, according to local real estate agents, is the availability of desirable land.

Big River Real Estate principal Angela Carmichael said while most are buying existing property, there is a portion of the buyer’s market holding out for the ultimate ‘lifestyle block’.

She said that includes local buyers, and potential developers.

‘‘Over the last few years we have seen some land open up, but it’s not land that necessarily lends itself to the Deni way of life — larger or river frontage blocks.

‘‘We are already starting to see developer interest in Deniliquin. Deni is on their radar, and they are asking us to let them know when something suitable comes along. But it’s about having the right land.

‘‘Overall sales last year absolutely blew history out of the water, and I’m hopeful we can carry on like this in terms of new enquiry interest.

‘‘The boom we are seeing is protected by the fact that there are so many driving forces behind what we’re seeing. In the past the spikes have been linked to one particular economic factor.

‘‘We know that this does create a tightness in the market, and people are struggling to find the right property. It may take longer, but we can still find you something.’’

While some are benefiting from the real estate boom and associated land value increases, Vinnies Services team leader Meghan Fisher said it will exacerbate the issues faced by more vulnerable members in the community.

Social housing was already in low supply before the boom placed pressure on rental availability and affordability.

Miss Fisher said affordable housing, paid for by the state government, is ‘‘the only way’’ to reduce the pressure on renters and low income earners.

‘‘They (the NSW Government) have announced some money for affordable housing, but the big thing is getting it out here in our small communities like Deni and Finley,’’ Miss Fisher said.

‘‘There are still no rentals listed, still no movement in the social housing sector, and we have lots of itinerant people who are unable to find accommodation elsewhere and are hoping for more luck in a small country town,’’ she said.

‘‘A lot of people are also being evicted because landlords want to take back the property, or the property is being sold because the market is so good.’’

Ms Fisher recognised many in the community have been priced out of the rental market as the squeeze has increased prices, however she said even those that can afford it are struggling to find a new home when their previous rental is sold by the landlord.

‘‘We’ve got working families where it doesn’t matter how much you earn, because there are no properties to apply for.

‘‘We’re always advocating for more social and community housing and that’s the only real answer to any sort of housing crisis.’’