With the Australian dollar falling to a 32-month low last month and house prices dropping 7.4 per cent over the year to October, Australian property presents a good opportunity for many expats and overseas buyers right now.
Those with $10 million to spare and looking beyond the city confines for a luxurious farming estate would likely head to the Riverina, the Southern Highlands, Western District in Victoria and the Southern Tablelands, where high-end homes aren’t out of place among the wheat fields and grazing pastures.
“The Southern Highlands is one of the premier rural regions in the state, if not, Australia,” Bruce Eason, of Christie’s International Real Estate, said. “There are many trophy homes in the area and of course the rural land is very good. It bats above the average for dollar per acre, because of the good soil. It’s also fairly drought-resistant and only about an hour from Sydney.”
Close to the village of Exeter is a seven-bedroom British Colonial-style residence, currently on the market for $10.5 million, on 77 hectares that is ideal for cattle crazing with rich soil and a good water supply.
“We get a lot of expats wanting to come back to Australia, and a good percentage of buyers are also Sydneysiders who want a rural property.”
But Australian rural property values have exploded over the last three years, leaving some people to question what you might be able to buy for the same $10 million overseas.
There’s potential value to be found in an array of impressive estates and farms – from vineyards to cattle stations – across Europe, the US or South America.
Vineyard in Italy
A fully restored farmhouse dating back to around 1600 located in the small hill town of Montalcino in the province of Siena, is currently on the market for €6.5 million ($10.45 million)
A two-and-a-half-hour drive north of Rome, the seven-bedroom home sits on 12 hectares of land, four hectares of which are working vineyards. The vines, which were planted in 2003, produce up to 15,000 bottles per annum with a per-hectare yield of 1600 kilos.
Cédric Roul, senior negotiator at Knight Frank, said such properties usually attracted winemakers from around the world, with international interest for this particular estate coming mainly from buyers in Russia and the US.
“Typically, the buyers for these sorts of properties are namely Californians who already own vineyards and Australians who are again already in wine production, although there is new interest from the Chinese who are also beginning to purchase these excellent opportunities in Italy,” Mr Roul said.
Mr Roul said €6.5 million was a reasonable price considering the four hectares of vineyards and wine production as well as the working cantina, temperature controlled rooms for the wine, a barrel room, a canteen for worker as well as a caretaker’s apartment.
Ranch in Colorado
The home, a five-bedroom five-bathroom house built from reclaimed logs from Yellowstone Park, is located next to a national forest and has expansive irrigated meadows ideal for horses.
The town itself, Carbondale, is renowned for extreme mountain sports, such as skiing, biking and whitewater rafting, as well as hiking and fishing.
“This small and unique neighbourhood called Spring Park Ranches, which is made up of only nine ranches, has drawn the attention from people around the country who appreciate the best this valley has to offer in views, privacy and setting,” Terry Rogers, of Sotheby’s, said.
It’s also a 45-minute drive to the ski slopes in Aspen.
Cattle station in Patagonia, Argentina
For those interested in serious farming land, there is better value to be had in Argentina where a ranch, or what is locally known as an estancia, set on 12,500 hectares in southern Patagonia, is currently on the market for $10.6 million.
The land can hold up to 5000 sheep and 700 cattle and has the capacity for more than 400,000 trees, including alamos, willow and pine.
On the estate is a newly built luxury home on top of a mountain overlooking the valley and river, as well as a guest house and workers’ quarters.
Selling agent Alfonso Cappiello of Sotheby’s Realty said there had been interest in the property from international buyers but so far only for specific pieces of the land.
Farmhouse and shoot lodge in Somerset, England
Far from the plains of Patagonia is a $8.2 million farmhouse and shooting lodge set on 147 hectares of rolling green hills in Somerset, England.
With a main residence, an indoor swimming pool, two cottages and small workshop, the estate is designed for keen equestrians with stables and a foaling box as well as training facilities with horse walker and six-furlong track.
Keen hunters would appreciate the shoot lodge and gun room, with the property having been named one of the top 10 secret shoots in Exmoor.
Agriculture and food production is a major industry in Somerset with apple cider production and dairy farming as well as textile production providing employment.