Industrial, farming and medical properties shine bright in 2020

The commercial farming sector fared well during COVID-19. Picture:
The commercial farming sector fared well during COVID-19. Picture:

Industrial and commercial farming properties attracted clicks galore in 2020, topping the list of the year’s most popular commercial assets.

Property analysts say the coronavirus pandemic affected several markets, with some commercial sectors bearing the brunt more than others and some coming off as winners.

Chief economist at REA Group Nerida Conisbee said industrial and commercial farming listings had outshone other asset classes, with medical, large retailers and bulky goods sites also making headway.

“This year has been all about industrial property and commercial farming. They’ve been the top of the list,” Ms Conisbee said.

“Large format retailing and bulky goods have also been really popular, like a Harvey Norman or Bunnings sort of centres. Medical and hospital have also been popular, primarily because there has been so much government investment due to COVID.”

At the other end of the scale, shopping centres and retail strips suffered during the pandemic with more Australians shopping online, while commercial listings for offices were challenged with new working from home arrangements leading to lacklustre sales and lease uptake.

Ms Conisbee predicted industrial, commercial farming and medial assets would likely continue to enjoy strong growth in 2021.

“Development sites were pretty unpopular in 2020 but I think with population growth returning once migration starts up again, they will be back in demand,” she said.

“For offices, we are going to see a rise in vacancy next year and also for shopping centres, there are a lot of challenges for them to maintain tenants and maintain rental levels. It will be quite challenging.

“Retail was heading down the path of problems because of online retailing but COVID accelerated it. Really, the big structural shift, which was not predicted at all, was the fact that companies would completely change the way that they handled staff in terms of how they worked.

“Most companies now don’t expect staff to be in the office five days a week so that has huge implications for the amount of office space that people require.”

But Ms Conisbee said while there were issues in the rental market, prices were holding strong.

“Even though there are quite a few problems on the tenancy side, we aren’t really seeing a drop in values,” she said.

“It’s a bit like residential where even though rental demand is pretty weak, property prices are remaining elevated because there is so much money [around] and the cost of finance is very low. It’s this odd situation with prices going up but rents are stagnant or in some cases actually falling.”

Here are the most popular listings in each asset class on in 2020:

Retail: Dan Murphy’s, Mosman

Dan Murphy's

The Mosman Dan Murphy’s outlet was the most-viewed retail listing in 2020. Picture:

The year’s most-viewed retail listing was a large format offering currently tenanted to liquor barn Dan Murphy’s in the affluent Sydney suburb of Mosman.

Built three years ago, the site is leased to the Woolworths Group until 2032, with options to extend the agreement to 2062.

The site included basement parking and an opportunity to reap income of $642,213.

Offices: Entire building with dental clinic, Bundall

Dental clinic

The Gold Coast office building sold for $1.655m in August 2020. Picture:

A Gold Coast building partially let to a dental clinic was Australia’s most popular office listing for 2020.

The two-storey property at 122 Bundall Road, Bundall sold for $1.655 million by Ray White Commercial – Gold Coast in August.

Set on 582sqm on a busy arterial road, the property has dual access, 11 car parking bays and a drive-through driveway, with capacity to lease the remaining 50% of the building to another entity.

Hotel/leisure: Historic pub, Macarthur

Macarthur pub

The historic pub dates back to 1860. Picture:

Dating back to 1860, the historic Macarthur Hotel was the most clicked-on hotel and leisure listing on in 2020.

The pub was sold in October 2019 and since then, new owner and Vietnam War veteran Greg Carter has transformed some of its rooms into free accommodation for military veterans to stay in.

The bluestone hotel is one of Victoria’s oldest pubs and has a four bedroom residence, which has been used as an Airbnb. It is also close to the renowned Aboriginal heritage site, Budj Bim and Mt Eccles National Park.

Land/development: Factory unit, Adelaide

Factory Adelaide

The chic Adelaide factory offered the ultimate city pad. Picture:

Badged as the “ultimate city pad”, this unique factory unit in Adelaide presented as a walk-up urban cave.

The 368sqm studio with a 13m frontage and rear access sold in April after being priced for sale at $1.195 million.

Zoned as city living, it has potential as a four-storey redevelopment.

Medical consulting: Medical suite, Deakin

Canberra medical suite

The Canberra medical centre is located near multiple medical services and government departments. Picture:

This medical suite in the heart of Canberra was the most-visited medical consulting listing on in 2020.

Known as Canberra Specialist Centre, the Deakin property is set near the John James Private Hospital and nearby the area’s proliferation of medical services and government departments.

The site, which sold in November 2018, was advertised for its suitability for medical practitioners, para-medical, ancillary health services and consulting clinics.

Commercial farming: Historic estate, Conargo

Hartwood estate

The picturesque estate sold for more than $12m in March 2020. Picture:

The historic Hartwood Station in Conargo, New South Wales, sold for more than $12 million in March and became the most-viewed commercial farming listing in 2020.

Set on a sprawling 6773ha with the original homestead, the large cropping and grazing enterprise included significant irrigation, 2500ML of water storage and 60km of dual river frontage to the Billabong and Yanco Creek.

Warehouse/factory/industrial: Two-storey warehouse, Brookvale

Sydney factory

The northern Sydney factory sold for $3.6m on New Year’s Eve 2019. Picture:

A factory unit in the northern Sydney suburb of Brookvale claimed the most popular industrial listing on this year after selling for $3.6 million on New Year’s Eve 2019.

Set on a landholding of 1004sqm, the brick construction comprised a floorplan of 1313sqm with a lower level warehouse and office on the upper floor.

Facilities included a mezzanine from the warehouse, storage for pallet racks, rear roller doors with forklift access and a goods lift to the first floor, as well as rooftop parking for 16 vehicles.

Showrooms/bulky goods: Spacious showroom, East Brisbane

Brisbane showroom

The popular showroom sold for $1.897m in February. Picture:

This 586sqm showroom in East Brisbane was keenly pursued last year to be crowned the as the most clicked-on showroom listing in 2020.

The site, which is leased to a printing business, was sold for $1.897 million in February.