Hunter Valley acreages are in hot demand right now.
And why wouldn’t they be? An acreage provides a more relaxed way of life surrounded by nature, so they seem to offer the very antidote to the stress and chaos of 2020.
But buying an acreage is a little different to buying a suburban home. There’s more factors that you’ll need to take into account and – let’s face it – more that can go wrong (as well as right).
With that in mind, here are the 6 things you need to think about before buying an acreage:
1.What do you want your acreage for?
People are attracted to Hunter Valley acreages for different reasons. Some are looking to retire (or semi-retire) in a relaxed location, while others want to bring the kids up close to nature and in the clean air. Some want a weekender, and still others are looking for a permanent address from which they can run a business.
While this may dictate some of what you’re looking for in your acreage, an even more important consideration is whether you want to work your land.
Acreages come in many different shapes and sizes. From a 1-2 acre lifestyle blocks on the edge of town, like The Retreat, right up to a proper farm.
If you intend to use your acreage mainly as a residence, you may be happy with a small plot of, say, five or 10 acres. You can often find quality residences with this amount of land close to Singleton or another Hunter Valley town.
But if you intend to grow crops, run livestock or carry out some other form of farming, you’ll probably need substantially more land. If you want to keep or breed horses, you’ll generally be looking for a minimum of 10 acres. If you want cattle, 20 acres is usually the minimum. And, if you’re looking to get into full scale primary production – say, to farm alpacas, you’re looking at a minimum of 50 acres. And, when you get over 50 acres, you’ll need to buy through a registered stock and station agent rather than a traditional real estate agent.
2.What do you need on your land?
It’s not just the size of the land that matters, either. It’s also the quality. Not all land was created equal, even in the Hunter Valley, and different land suits different agriculture.
You should also take into account what water sources you have on your land and what you have access to. Although this year has been wet, it never pays to forget we’re coming out of one of the most serious droughts we’ve ever experienced.
If you intend to work the land, you’ll be looking for your own water storage, in the form of dams, as well as any reliable creeks. Make sure you ask around to find out how these flow in a bad year – not just what they look like right now.
Are you looking for a vacant land, or do you need a certain type of house or houses on it? For example, many people moving to our area are looking for a tree change and want the possibility of running their acreage as tourist accommodation, or some other type of business.
Then there’s infrastructure – do you need sheds, outbuildings, stables, water tanks, access roads, or anything else?
3.What amenities will you need?
Moving to an acreage doesn’t always mean you have to leave behind all the conveniences of town or city life. Many properties will come with town water and sewage connected. Generally, the closer you are to Singleton or one of the other Hunter Valley centres, the more likely you are to find this. Of course, the flipside of this is that you’re also likely to only find smaller blocks of land and have to pay more for them. And there may be restrictions on the land’s use depending on the council zoning.
4.How close to town do you need to be?
Being close to town also brings many other advantages. If you run out of milk or need to buy something to make dinner, there’s a big difference between a 20 minute round trip and an hour-long journey. The good news is that there are many acreages around Singleton that are less than a 15-minute drive from town.
If you have kids at one of our local schools – or you need to commute to work – you’ll also appreciate that proximity to town. There’s nothing like a rural retreat. But there’s also nothing like having a short journey home instead of a long one.
5.How much time will you devote to your land?
Whether you have animals and crops, or you’re just building your dream home in the Hunter Valley’s gorgeous open spaces, the reality is that having land requires more work than you’d find on a suburban block. You’re likely to need a ride-on mower, you may find you also need a tractor, and you’ll find much of your time will be spent tending to your new property (or paying someone else to). Even basic maintenance adds up the larger your property is. Checking the dams, making sure it’s bushfire safe, and more.
Exactly how much time you need to dedicate depends on how large your land is and what style of property you want. For instance, if you want extensive gardens you’re likely to have to spend your weekends tending to it.
Then again, if you’re like many of our clients who buy acreages, that’s exactly what you want…
6.What’s your budget?
The final, and perhaps most important, consideration is your budget. The more you have to spend, often the closer to town you can be, the better home you can buy and the better quality and more) the land you can generally afford.
In late 2020, we listed one of the best acreages we’ve seen in our area for some time. 1111 Glendonbrook Road offers around 50 acres of prime land, as well as a grand five-bedroom home just 20 minutes from Singleton or the Hunter Valley vineyards. With its own stables and horse and foaling paddocks, cow paddock underground irrigation and 108,000-litre house tank, this is as good as it gets. The price reflects this, with the vendors asking $1.6 million – $1.8 million.
Meanwhile, just over five minutes from town, 465 Bridgman Road offers a five-bedroom home on 7.4 acres of land, with two large paddocks and two dams for $795,000-$835,000.
Finally, if you’d prefer your own tranquil retreat on a more manageable block, 162 Brigadier Hammett Road also offers five bedrooms on 2.24 acres also just over five minutes from town. It’s currently listed for $925,000.
Want to know more about the state of the local market?
Find your ideal acreage in the Hunter Valley region by contacting One Agency Lindy Harris today.