Forbes is officially the hottest of farmland hotspots in NSW's rural property market.
Figures from the NSW Valuer General show prices for rural-zoned land in the Forbes Shire Council in the state's Central West, rose 27.9 per cent in the 12 months to July 2020.
Weddin, the neighbouring shire on Forbes' southern boundary, came a close second at 23.5 per cent.
In fact, rural properties in 43 of the state's municipalities outperformed central Sydney's residential real estate 6pc growth rate over the same period.
It's very real for Carmel King, who's just auctioned her 242-hectare property near Forbes for $2 million. She and her husband sold their small acreage west of Sydney to buy the farm 17 years ago for $650,000.
"I thought going out of Sydney and coming here would mean price increases would be a lot slower," Ms King said.
Considering downsizing from her prime lamb and cropping enterprise, she'd had the property valued in 2018.
"I was quoted $1900-2100 an acre and we sold it for $3300/ac three years later," she said.
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Nutrien Harcourts Forbes agent Ainslie Toole has been selling rural properties in the region for 23 years and said it offered buyers value for money.
"Typically, our pricing is half what it would be at Wagga, for example, or Cootamundra, but your return on investment is better than half," she said.
"The big draw card here is the return on investment and potential for capital gain."
Aside from its relatively low land prices, Ms Toole said, the region had another huge advantage.
"Our water is still the cheapest in the state," she said. "So people are buying in as an investment, but also for irrigation, because you can still buy bore water for around $1000 to $1250 a megalitre and, in other areas, you'd be paying double to triple that."
The proposed 50 per cent expansion of the Wyangala Dam would only enhance the security of local water further.
Value-seekers, however, were just one element of the market, Ms Toole said.
"Nearly all of our buyers over the last four months have been local or have land in the local area already," she said.
"Now that we've hit this purple patch in agriculture, the next generation are wanting to be farmers.
"They have a very long term view, while, seeing capital gains, the corporates are now transacting and selling."