AUCTIONEERS IN the west of England achieved some strong results in November, with non-farmers the driving force behind most of the sales.

Richard Williams of agent Williams Parry Richards achieved way over the guide price when he put Stowfield Bungalow Farm under the hammer on Nov 2.

The 66-acre smallholding at Lydbrook, Glos, which included a timber and asbestos bungalow, made £397,000 in four lots. The original asking price was £220,000 and Mr Richards said the sale was one of the firm’s most successful for many years, but none of the buyers was a farmer. “There is anything but farmers in the market these days.”

However, he said it was wrong to assume that everything was selling at equally strong prices. A decline in the residential market and the poor harvest may have dented some buyers’ confidence. “There are definitely mixed messages out there.”

But that wasn’t the case further north in Cheshire on Nov 17 when Frank R Marshall sold five lots of land.

Almost 20 acres of arable and pasture at Byley, near Middlewich, was bought by a local farmer for £152,000 (7696/acre) and three lots of pasture at Brereton and Arclid, near Sandbach, went to non-farmers for 8606/acre to 4266/acre.

A three-acre natural fishing lake with nine acres of woodland and marshland and 11 acres of agricultural land made £192,000 to a Manchester businessman.

Alan Lane, who auctioned the properties, said: “Sales at these levels make our job as valuers extremely difficult, with recent sales of equally good, if not better quality, land in the county having struggled to achieve half these price levels. Location is obviously important and interest from non-farming buyers, which is difficult to predict pre-sale, is obviously crucial.”

Halls also made good money with the sale of a number of small parcels in Worcs on Nov 24.

Two lots of land near Bromsgrove made £5082/acre for 7.87 acres and £6135/acre for 8.13 acres. Both were bought by an adjoining farmer. Just over 10 acres at Cutnall Green, near Droitwich, went for £50,000 and 11.74 acres fetched £55,000 (£4684/acre).