Griffith land values take nosedive, but rates still sky high

LOCAL land values plummeted $150 million between 2010 and 2013 according to a report conducted by the NSW Valuer General.

The total land value in the Griffith region was approximately $1.39 billion in July 2010, but three years on that number has sunk to $1.54 billion.

The report cited a myriad of reasons for the drop including weaker local economic conditions, supply levels of rural residential and hobby farms exceeding demand, lower citrus and wine grape prices, and flooding.

Rawlinson and Brown sales manager Robert Cavallaro said his figures backed up the report but said it didn't reflect an upturn in the last six months.

"The price of real estate is in line with the drop in land value, but you'll find if he went back over the last six to eight months there has been a turn-around resulting in more confidence in the current market," Mr Cavallaro said.

"October 2010 was when the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) was announced and it had a detrimental effect on the market.

"The MDBA scared a lot of investors but fortunately people have moved on and now have a grasp on what government is doing with the water.

"Land value has been down since 2006 and unfortunately hasn't reflected in the rates, values have come down but rates haven't, although things are getting dearer and council needs x amount to run the city."

Mayor John Dal Broi acknowledged rates were extremely high and hoped rates could reflect the recent drop in land value, but said it was too early to know how much could be cut.

"Griffith city is one of the highest rural rate payers in the state," Cr Dal Broi said.

"Hopefully this brings us back to some normality within the rest of NSW, but I can't tell you at this stage what the effect on the bottom line will be.

"We'll certainly be looking closely at it prior to setting budgets for 2014 and 2015 ratings years."

The Valuer General, Philip Western, said large irrigation and dry land rice-producing properties was the only segment of the market to hold their ground thanks to improved seasonal conditions and prices.

"Land value is the value of the land only and does not include the value of the home or other improvements on the land," Mr Western said.

"The value of residential land generally showed a slight decrease as a consequence of weaker local and broader economic conditions, including a decline in the rural sector.

"Commercial land values also showed a slight decrease due to reduced retail demand and a slight decline in rental levels.

"The value of rural land used for horticulture has generally shown a moderate decrease due to lower citrus and wine grape prices."

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