Cootamundra was the Riverina's star performer in land value last financial year, according to the NSW Valuer General's office.
In its annual report released this week, the office said that in the 12 months to the end of June, Cootamundra had the region's top growth of 30 per cent in rural land values, compared with a Riverina average of 18.6.
Continued strong returns for livestock and grains, coupled with Cootamundra's generally reliable rainfall, good soils and proximity to Canberra and Sydney, was behind the strong growth, the report said.
Driven by the positive rural outlook, Cootamundra also had healthy growth in the value of industrial land (31 per cent, compared with a Riverina average of 4.6), commercial land (24 per cent, compared with 7.1) and residential land (15 per cent, compared with 5.9).
Acting NSW Valuer General, Michael Parker, emphasised that land value does not include the value of a home or other structures.
Ron Loiterton principal Daryl Sedgwick said the jump in rural land values needed to be seen in light of the fact that local properties were tightly held, many for four or five generations.
“It would have been related to one sale in particular, the sale of Willows in December 2017 for $11.5 million, which set the benchmark for the others,” Mr Sedgwick said.
“When these properties do come along there’s strong competition to get into the golden area of the state.”
With regard to residential sales, Mr Sedgwick said Cootamundra continued to attract people relocating because of the quality of life and facilities such as healthcare and schooling it provides.
Licensee at Fleming’s Property Services, Janet McAtear, said there hadn’t been a boom in retail sales so much as a shortage of vacant land, especially in the town’s centre.
“It’s rumoured there’s to be a large release of land out past the Country Club, but that will be on the outskirts, and land close to town is scarce as hen’s teeth.”
The figures published by the NSW Valuer General showed land values across the Riverina had increased by 13.5 per cent, rising from $17.1 billion to $19.4 billion.
The figures, independently checked for accuracy and consistency, will be used by Revenue NSW to calculate land tax for registered tax agents.
Riverina regional local government areas include Bland, Carrathool, Coolamon, Cootamundra-Gundagai, Griffith, Hay, Junee, Leeton, Lockhart, Murrumbidgee, Narrandera, Temora and Wagga.
Most councils are using 1 July 2016 land values for rating. All councils are scheduled to receive new land values as at 1 July 2019.
Land values specific to for former local government area of Cootamundra, showing an overall increase in land value of 26 per cent in 2017-2018, were released in a background document prepared for the Valuer-General.
Residential land in the Villages, particularly Stockinbingal, had a very strong increase with buyers attracted to their relatively lower values and commutable distance to Cootamundra township.
“In Cootamundra the increase was mostly attributable to a shortage of supply of vacant land, especially centrally located sites,” the document said.
“Overall there was a moderate number of sales. While there were very strong increases in centrally-located sites with high demand, residential land to the east of the railway line and in the north and north-west areas had a moderate increase.
The strong growth in Cootamundra’s industrial land values, especially to the east of the railway line, was mostly attributable to a shortage in supply of vacant land.
Industrial land around the Gundagai Road/Turners Lane area, which comprises a number of larger lots including the sewage treatment works, had a very strong increase with market influence from the hobby and rural sectors, the document stated.