SEASONAL conditions are creating strong demand for rural land in South Gippsland, with graziers from drought affected areas of Victoria and New South Wales searching for greener pastures.
Estate agent Alan Steenholdt represented Alex Scott and Staff at the South Gippsland Dairy Expo last week and said he had far fewer properties to advertise this year compared to previous years.
Mr Steenholdt said agencies across South Gippsland were experiencing high demand for both residential and rural properties, but that in the last six months, there’d been a surge in enquiries on rural land from prospective buyers in East Gippsland, northern Victoria, and New South Wales.
“All agencies in South Gippsland are as short on listings as they’ve been for a long time. Some agents who’ve worked in the area more than 40 years are saying they’ve never seen it this light on,” Mr Steenholdt said.
“We’re getting a lot of enquiry from the fringes of Melbourne, but we’re also getting strong enquiry from places like East Gippsland.
“Because they’ve got no grass, farmers that are looking at buying more land are looking in South Gippsland because they know it grows grass.
“Those that are looking at buying more land are wanting to spread the risk, and they’re buying in South Gippsland because it’s very rarely dry.”
And it’s not just those looking to expand that are turning to South Gippsland.
A property at Hallston formerly owned by retired dairy farmer Joe Jans recently sold to a New South Wales couple seeking to relocate their dairy, with Mr Jans observing they were so keen to move, they’d bought the property “almost sight unseen”.
Buffalo dairy farmer Peter Collins said it made sense for drought-affected farmers to invest in South Gippsland.
“If they’ve got to buy hay or feed anyway, why not buy it standing in a paddock and get the land too?
“Grain’s around $500 a tonne, but you can grow grass in Gippsland for a lot less than that, and you avoid the disease issues of bringing in imported feed,” he said.