A 550-acre block of predominantly arable land in sought-after Berkshire has become one of the first commercial farms to surface for sale in 2017.
Strutt & Parker expects Whitehouse Farm at Upper Lambourn – 10 miles from Hungerford – to be among the largest chunks of land to sell in the region this year.
It has been broken in to five lots with the main farmer-buyer interest likely to be in the 484 acres of Grade 3 arable land at £4.3m, and 4,260t of grain storage at £500,000.
Two fields of permanent pasture – one 27 acres and another at 24 acres – have also been lotted separately, as has a set of dilapidated farm buildings with some conversion potential.
The seller bought an option to acquire the whole estate in 2011 and intends to exercise that right on 1 November 2017. But this sale comprises the land and buildings they have deemed surplus to requirement.
The arable land is in a ring fence and comprises just seven large fields.
Soils are classic chalky downland, which in the past three years have grown crops of winter wheat and spring barley with a fallow year included.
There are also three small woodland copses comprising about five acres in total.
Nearby, the farmyard hosts a range of buildings including five on-floor stores with a combined capacity of 4,000t. There is a 60t/hour grain dryer, which was installed in 1984, and two 100t silos plus bins for wet storage.
Selling agent Matt Sudlow said: “We thought the flexibility of the lotting may appeal to a range of buyer types.
“This will be one of the larger blocks to be offered this year and I understand other sales of farms nearby have attracted a lot of interest recently.”
A guide price as a whole has been set at £5.5m.
£47m of farmland sells as buyers show strong interest in Berkshire
Whitehouse is the third large commercial block of arable land to hit the market in the area in less than six months.
In September, Compton Farms near East Ilsley brought 2,000 acres to the market while 20 miles north, Nuneham Courtenay added a further 1,000 acres.
Contracts were exchanged on Compton in January and a buyer has been found for £22m Nuneham Courtenay too.
Demand for Compton was “huge” according to Giles Wordsworth from Savills, who handled the sale.
He told Farmers Weekly that the £25m guide price was exceeded and the farm sold as a whole to a farmer buyer.
“Interest came from both local buyers who wanted the lots and those wanting a 2,000-acre farm,” he said.
“The farmer investors were the strongest element – they wanted to buy it to farm in addition to their existing enterprises.”
Mr Wordsworth suggested that there may be disappointed bidders who could look at Whitehouse as an option.
“You might well see those buyers who were engaging in Compton who needed a large commercial base to set up as a standalone operation,” he said.