REAL Estate Institute of WA rural chapter chairman John Wilson has serious doubts of a 10-15pc increase in small landholdings in the past five years, as recently reported in Farm Weekly.
He also believes proper checking of rural land titles would help reduce access problems related to landlocked blocks.
His comments follow the revelation that some WA shire councils were coming under pressure due to an increasing number of lifestyle blocks.
The problems faced by shires are associated with keeping productive land from being fragmented and trying to discourage the sale of landlocked titles that have been leading to access problems ‹ often hand-balled to shires.
Mr Wilson said real estate agents had a legal obligation to ensure properties had access, an exception being where titles from one property were sold into adjoining properties.
Avondale Hotham regional shire planner Russel Tait said landlocked titles were "in the main" being sold through real estate agents with some sales negotiated privately.
He said a major concern for shires in regards to landlocked blocks was emergency vehicles could not reach the property when required.
He said the boundaries of historical titles were often not in the best place environmentally to place an access way.
Mr Wilson said he did not condone the selling of titles but that there was room for confusion in regards to the status of closed or unclosed roads.
"There are a lot of situations where there could be a closed road or unmade road that may not in fact be closed," he said.
Nevertheless he said alarm bells should ring if an access way was not shown on a title. "From our point of view, we have got to use our best endeavor to make sure that there is some access to a property," he said. "We can't quota a property as having access if there is no legal access".
Agriculture WA senior development officer Gerry Parlevliet told Farm Weekly there had been an estimated 27,000 lifestyle blocks in WA, which was a 10-15pc increase (5000) in the past five years.
"I would not have thought the percentage was that high," Mr Wilson said.
He believed the current situation had more to do with a turnover of lifestyle blocks than increasing numbers, the "boom" having happened in the 1980s.
"There is still some development happening but not to the same extent," he said.
"I think maybe along the coastal strip there may be some activity, but it depends on the areas".
Mr Wilson said the reported increased "activity" in the Beverley area had more to do with the turnover of small landholdings than more being created.
However, Beverley resident and Brookton and Pingelly shire land management and environment officer Harvey Morrell said the number of small landholdings in the Beverley shire was increasing at a rate of six per cent a year.