Where will land prices go in 2013? We ask agents around the country to sum up the market in 2012 and to set out what will influence buyers, sellers and prices next year.

2012 market – key features

2012 saw the strongest market I can remember mainly due to lack of supply of commercial farms with a particular scarcity of farms larger than 500 acres.

There was huge demand from commercial farmers and investors in particular, who like the commerciality of the land in this region but are also comforted by the proximity to London and lifestyle buyer market. Several sales at more than £10,000/acre.

  • Average arable land prices at end of 2012 – £8,611/acre, up about 3% on 2011
  • Area of land marketed was almost the same – 9,975 acres in 2012 and 9,904 acres in 2011
  • Only four farms of more than 500 acres on open market in 2012

2013 outlook – main market influences

  • An increase in small blocks of marginal quality land being sold by farmers keen to cash in poor land for high prices – buyers beware – particularly of wet/heavy land after the current harvest/planting weather
  • General lack of supply of land to the market, particularly of large commercial holdings
  • Non-farming land owners will start to become sellers
  • Average arable prices to remain at more than £8,000/acre
Sale highlight of the year (pictured above) 
Carvers Hill Farm, Shalbourne, Wiltshire – an excellent compact farm of 177 acres, mainly arable land with cottage and buildings. Grade 3 with some Grade 2 land and HLS scheme. Incredible interest – eight offers and a sale price more than 40% above £1.4m guide price.

2013 outlook – what will happen to prices?

  • Values to remain strong, likely to rise gently by up to 5%
  • Differential between good and bad land will widen

How much land will come on the market in 2013?

There will be an increase – I anticipate some major sales in the area.

Easiest farm to sell in 2013?

The perfect farm to sell would be between 250 and 500 acres of commercial arable land – ideally Grade 2 or 3 with a modest house (or no house) and decent range of buildings. Anywhere in this area would be good – Berkshire Downs is a particular hot spot.

Most difficult farm to sell in 2013?

Residential farm/estate with a large expensive listed house in poor condition, blighted by footpaths or road noise.