Murraylands Prime for Investment

By Johnston Withers – Adelaide Lawyers

Whether it is investment in commercial property, residential property, development ,  business, energy, agricultural or education the Murraylands is well positioned for growth and high yield return.

Investment in commercial property in South Australia is strong. We currently have amongst the highest yielding returns on commercial investment  across Australia [1]. Whether it be Adelaide CBD or regional South Australia we are performing well.

Commercial commentators and statistics are reporting a 7% or higher yield in most jurisdictions across our state [2]. Investors from all over the country are seeking opportunities here and with stamp duty abolished on commercial property purchases from July 2018 [3] and the high yield rent return, commercial growth is great.

Murray Bridge is showing even stronger than the state average with leased commercial property sold in the last 12 months bringing up to 9% per annum return on investment.

Johnston Withers have facilitated many commercial transactions this year where we have seen this first hand. Such transactions include; a local bank, a government service centre, multi-lease office buildings, shipping container storage yards and light industrial buildings. Consideration for the transactions I have just mentioned range from $980,000 to $5.6 million.

Another fantastic aspect of commercial property investment in Murray Bridge is the variety of stock and range in sale price. A Mum and Dad commercial investor can get into the market at $250k and the savvy large scale investor or investment group can find a fully leased to government office building with above average return and a multi-million dollar price tag.

Murray Bridge has plenty of green sites too. There is vacant land across all commercial zones including light industry, general industry and bulky goods – this appeals to investors looking to build new warehousing, sheds, factories and office blocks and gain some tax advantages such as the ability to depreciate.

The recent REISA quarterly report has Murray Bridge together with Victor Harbor and Mount Gambier as the top performing regional towns for sales of both commercial and residential property [4]. Yes, there has been a slight downturn in the last couple of months but we felt the effects of that less here in Murray Bridge than most other regional locations.

Development is continuing and it is being greatly encouraged by our council and state government. Rural City of Murray Bridge Development plan [5] is a well thought out, positive, responsible and growth filled plan encouraging a broad range of development within the different council development zones.

Our residential zoning encourages development with an emphasis on higher dwelling densities in areas close to centres, public and community transport and public open spaces.

There is vision for affordable housing and housing for seniors in appropriate locations, this sort of development encourages builders and developers that have systems in place to roll out new housing stock in a way that generates employment growth in the trades and encourages young families to set down roots in the community.

Rural zoning allowances for one, two and ten hectare properties make Murray Bridge an attractive place for folk like those in the Adelaide Hills who dream of a hobby farm or some land to ride the motorbike or horse but cannot afford the million dollar plus price tags the same size allotments would cost in places like Mt Barker and Hahndorf.

For these reasons and more, the urban sprawl is heading our way and it will continue with enthusiastic developers having Murray Bridge in their sights.

Primary production zones provide some scope for wind farm and renewable energy. Land owners around the Murraylands are currently being approached by energy companies who view our climate and landscape as being prime for renewable energy infrastructure. They are doing their due diligence and are keen to invest in the future of energy. As our government continues to debate the renewables vs coal issue solar and wind farms are being set up around the country. We are presently negotiating and reviewing leases for land owners in our region who have been approached. The leases bring significant income for the land owners who in the most part will continue to occupy the properties and be part of the community.

The Development Plans of the Rural City of Murray Bridge and other Murraylands councils and their respective planning teams are primed to approve a vast range of development opportunities with well thought out limitations for environmental protection and a very clear vision to maintain aesthetic appeal.

We know about the multi-storey Bridgeport hotel development, I feel very positive that we will see a move towards a major river front and Sturt Reserve development. You can imagine the tourism opportunities that will bring with it.

State government is also providing the right tools for growth with one such example being the team of experts that head the Invest SA initiative. You can find out more at [6] This team is working hard to encourage and assist investors from all over Australia, Asia and the world to increase business investment in SA (including regional SA) There is a key focus on Agricultural, IT (especially technology start up companies) and energy with plenty of grant based incentive.

There are businesses from all over the country and world who are considering our state. SA has cheap office space, lower cost of living than eastern seaboard cities and Perth, better life work balance with the river, wine region, race tracks and surf all at our finger tips.

We as a Murraylands business community can take advantage of this by continuing to talk about and showcase our regional offerings wherever we go.

There is important talk from environmentalists and other bodies expressing the need to preserve the farming industry, our food sources and natural landscape. These important aspects of a sustainable future do not need to be compromised to allow for economic growth and agricultural investment and expansion.

Protective legislation such as the Environment and Food Protection Area (EFPA) create protection areas (“food bowls”) without our region. This prevents the further division and development of land within the zone for reasons that do not protect our food bowl or valuable rural areas, landscape values or environmental resources [7].

While restrictive on subdivision development, the legislation is overall positive for our region. It showcases how productive and important the prime land is for the future food source farming. With movements like Paddock to Plate, we can really capitalise on this. The Fleurieu, Barossa and Kangaroo Island have done this well, we can follow their lead.

There really is so much investment and growth opportunity at our doorstep.

Johnston Withers Lawyers & Conveyancers have offices all over the state including Murray Bridge. We can assist local residents and business owners in their property, investment, leasing and business legal needs. Gemma Wallace is our Head of Conveyancing for South Australia and the Murray Bridge Practice Manager. You can contact Gemma on (08) 8532 5800 or online.

  1. Herron Todd White, Commercial Report March 2019,
  2. Savills February 2019 Brieifings –
  3. Revenue SA Circular 103
  4. Real Estate Institute of Australia quarterly report 1st quarter 2019
  5. Rural City of Murray Bridge Development Plan
  6. Invest SA publication “Opening Doors South Australia – a complete investment package”
  7. Proposed Environment and Food Production Area (EFPA)


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