WESTERN Australian farmland values remained strong for 2018, which reflect the nation's growth in the rural property sector, according to Rural Bank's 2019 Australian Farmland Values report.
In 2018, the median price per hectare of WA agricultural land rose by 3.8 per cent, which although is behind the national average of 10.7pc, was a major relief after a decline of 6.5pc in 2017.
There appeared to be substantial differences in the growth of land values throughout the State, with the Northern region leading the year-on-year charge at 34pc, which James Robinson, Rural Bank, said would level the region's farmland values with the rest of the State.
While comparing year-on-year median price per hectare growth, the Eastern region was seen to struggle the most, with values falling 12.3pc.
"Broadacre farmland values in Western Australia have been strong across most of the State, particularly in the latter part of 2018," Mr Robinson said.
"Rises of 25 to 30pc in the median price per hectare were seen in traditionally higher rainfall areas which have enjoyed several strong seasons.
"The northern Wheatbelt generally had a very good season in 2018 and prices are expected to grow, catching up with the rest of the State."
The total number of transactions increased by 9.1pc in 2018, but despite this growth over the past year, a historical perspective has shown the volume of transactions remained low at 18pc below the 20-year average.
The rise in transaction volume was distributed among most price ranges.
Price brackets to see rises in transactions were $1000-$2000 per hectare and the largest being $4000-$5000/ha, up by 74.2pc in 2018.
This growth was largely driven by higher activity in the Central region, accounting for 74pc of WA's transactions.
There was modest growth for price brackets of $2000-$3000/ha and more than $5000/ha.
Transactions less than $1000/ha remained steady and accounted for 24pc of the State's sales.
Within this price range, there were contrasting trends between regions, with 12 less sales in the South Coast, which was offset by 14 transactions in the Eastern region.
Transactions within $3000-$4000/ha saw a small reduction.
In terms of performance by parcel size, the two larger parcel segments of 500-750ha and above 750ha had the strongest growth in value in 2018, after recovering from declines in 2017 (19.2pc and 12pc growth).
This is predominantly due to the Northern, Central and Eastern regions seeing transactions up from 2017.
The 750ha and above size segment also had a 10.8pc increase in transactions, but land measuring 250-500ha changed hands the most, with a 30pc rise on 2018 figures.
The smallest parcel size of 50-250ha showed a modest recovery from its decline in 2017, with a 7pc rise.
Despite its decline in recent years, land of this size has recorded strong growth over the past year, mostly driven by strength in the Central region, which accounted for 40pc of the State's sales.
Although WA's growth in the rural property market was positive in 2018, compared to the other States, it was modest.
In fact WA was the lowest performing State to record a positive growth in median prices per hectare.
Northern Territory land prices skyrocketed by 135.5pc, followed by South Australia at 17pc, Queensland with 15.7pc, Victoria at 14pc and New South Wales at 9.6pc.
Tasmania was the only State to record a decline in land values, which were down by 5pc.
This story first appeared on Farm Weekly.