Bare land value reached a new record in the first half of 2012, with the latest RICS Rural Land Market Survey putting it at 6,628/acre. This is 2% higher than the previous six-month period and 8% up on a year earlier.

This opinion-based survey of land prices contrasts with the results of actual sales in the first six months of the year, which showed a fall of 7% to £7,794/acre compared with the second half of 2011. Measured against the same period in 2011, the results from actual sales show a 3% fall.

These transaction-based figures include farm sales with a residential element but only where this accounts for less than 50% of the value.

The first half of this year saw transaction levels dip to their lowest since the start of 2006, with only 115 sales reported by surveyors, down from 298 in the second half of 2011.

While demand was high, lack of liquidity was factor, said RICS. Commercial farmers continue to account for more than two-thirds of all farmland purchases, while the residential or lifestyle segment of the market reflected the difficulties of the broader housing market.

The most expensive bare agricultural land is in the West Midlands at £7,219/acre, followed by the North West at £6,938/acre. Scotland at £3,906/acre was the lowest-priced area, followed by the North East at £5,094/acre.

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Land prices continue rise in first half of 2012