A RECORD price per hectare was achieved with the online auction of a cattle farm in the South West last week.
Elgin Country, at 55 Clarke Road, Elgin, sold under the virtual hammer for $965,000 to a local dairy farming family from vendors Mark and Peta-Jane Harris, Treeton Lake, Cowaramup and Dardanup.
Measuring 49.07 hectares, the sale equates to about $19,665 per hectare.
"This sale result is one of the highest results per hectare in the region in history that I have seen," said Nutrien Harcourts sales representative and selling agent Chris Waddingham.
Based on Rural Bank's annual Australian Farmland Values report, this sale reflects substantial growth on 2020's land values.
The report stated Capel's (the closest locality to Elgin) median land value for 2020 waas $11,913/ha, suggesting growth of 39 per cent.
Given strong buyer demand in the market and the exceptional presentation of the property, Mr Waddingham said the sale result was what he expected.
"The presentation of the property was immaculate," Mr Waddingham said.
"The infrastructure was only a few years old, the fencing was first class, about 85 per cent has been reseeded this season and even after the property met the reserve price, the vendor still fertilised the property."
The vendors had used the property for silage and hay production and running a "high quality Angus herd", and Mr Waddingham believes the buyer plans to also grow hay and silage for their dairy operation, as well as run their dry dairy cattle.
Mr Waddingham received a huge amount of interest in Elgin Country, which he said was evidence of the strong buyer demand for quality properties.
"I had 14 parties express interest, which is quite a lot - about 12 months ago I might have expected to have two parties enquire," he said.
Bids for the auction closed on Wednesday last week, with five parties registering to bid but only two battled it out during the bidding process.
The two bidders declared they were serious players right from the start, with the first bid being above the reserve price (not disclosed) and declaring the property officially on the market.
Online auctions have become more common in the rural property sector in the past few years, with a particular increase since COVID-19 and Mr Waddingham rated the Openn Negotiation platform highly.
"It was a fantastic medium to use in particular with this property," he said.
"I enjoyed the transparency and the buyers had control of the process."
While some buyers were not familiar with the platform at first, after a short explanation by Mr Waddingham, he said they felt confident using it.
"It is very user friendly and from a marketing point of view, it was the ideal format to use in this instance when buyer enquiry was so strong," he said.
But why go with an online auction rather than an in-person auction?
"We wanted the lead up time for participants to get involved - we wanted to see how the platform would be received in the rural space," he said.
"I thought it was the best way for the market to determine the value of the property."
Mr Waddingham said the South West market has been tightly held, with very few properties available for sale.
"This has been driven by strong livestock prices so farmers' income has been very good, meaning there hasn't been a lot of clientele who are pressed to sell their property assets," he said.