English farmland© FLPA/Dave Pressland/Rex Shutterstock

Traders say they expect entitlement values to be significantly higher than last year, although to date only a handful of deals have been completed.

Hugh Townsend of Exeter-based Townsends said that so far the firm had only done a small number of deals for non-Severely Disadvantaged Area (SDA) entitlements, but they had sold at £200/unit to £210/unit.

This contrasts with a price of £50/unit to £100/unit in June of this year.

See also: Entitlement trade boost as BPS deadline looms

However, Mr Townsend said he anticipated that once trade picked up after Christmas buyers might be looking at paying an average of £250/unit.

“Last year was a shocker in lots of different ways. I think now things have settled down we will see quite a strong and active market.”

Mark Webb, partner at WebbPaton, said he had only done one deal so far, but people had asked about purchasing entitlements.

“Last year was a shocker in lots of different ways. I think now things have settled down we will see quite a strong and active market”
Hugh Townsend, Townsends

He agreed a price of £250/unit was a realistic prospect, taking into account the number of years the Basic Payment Scheme had to run and the fact entitlements could be in short supply because last year saw any unused entitlements revert back to the national reserve.

“I think there will be a trade, although I can’t see much happening until after Christmas.

“There are no entitlement statements out yet and people like to see it on paper, before they trade.”

Carys Studley of Rostons said in the past week she had received enquiries but had not completed any trades. 

“When I have been asked where the price might be I have said at least £180/ha for English non-SDA.

“I certainly think because of last year’s use it or lose it rule [on entitlements], availability will be tighter.” 

Entitlement trading in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is yet to start.