Farmland values index produced in Bendigo

THREE Bendigo valuers have produced Victoria's first index of farmland values.

The Rural Finance staff took two years to produce the report, which tracks the results of almost 45,000 farmland sales across the state between 1990 and 2013. 

It is the first comprehensive study of the value of agricultural land ever undertaken in Victoria.

Valuers Jonathan Creese and Neil Peake worked with cadet valuer Katherine Tarrant to produce the document.

Rural Finance general manager of agribusiness Andrew Smith is also based in the head office in Bendigo and supervised the project.

He said the report would help investors make more informed decisions.

"It will help our clients but also industry and government," he said.

The index shows a steady rise in values in the Central Highlands region and across Victoria since 1990.

"Agriculture is coming back into vogue as an investment class," Mr Smith said.

"With interest rates being at historic lows, people are considering land and capital expenditure to improve their properties. 

"They are willing to invest in land because they will see a return from earnings and capital appreciation."

He also pointed out that the value of agricultural land performed well when compared with the Consumer Price Index.

Agricultural land value rose 4.2 per cent per annum during the 23-year period, compared with CPI at 2.8 per cent. Residential properties increased by six per cent per annum across Victoria.

Mr Smith said there was an increasing focus on agriculture in Australia, partly driven by demand for food exports to Asia.

The index divides Victoria into 14 areas, according to land use

Mr Smith said mixed farming, traditionally cropping and grazing, was the most common farmland use in the Bendigo district, with lifestyle farming being a key characteristic. 

Central Highland farmland values increased by an average of 4.95 per cent each year.

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