English Offerings catch up with 2003

ENGLAND’S LAND market has finally caught up with 2003 after some sizeable September offerings.

Until then, the amount of land marketed publicly was lagging behind last year, but some much-needed launches, like the 4624-acre Essex Farms estate from Smiths Gore and Strutt & Parker, have pushed 2004 slightly ahead.

This year, 82,850 acres had been marketed by the end of September compared with 81,719 acres in 2003, a slight gain of 1.4%, according to figures from FPDSavills.

Much of the improvement came in the north of England, where sales last year were negligible in many areas. In Yorks and Humberside, for example, the volume of land offered was up 288%, from 2208 to 8556 acres.

The south-west and south-east of England, where residential influences are more prevalent, remained fairly static, while the Eastern arable heartland, where mid-term review is a bigger concern, saw availability fall almost 30% to 12,319 acres.

 Despite this rally, however, land sales in England are still 48% below the three-year average prior to foot-and-mouth in 2001, when 160,600 acres were launched annually.

In Scotland and Wales, the market doesn”t seem to have benefited from an autumn fillip. Scottish agents have handled 19,767 acres so far this year, 57% below 2003 and a massive 75% down on the three-year average before F&M. The 4848 acres launched in Wales are 12% off last year and 70% below the three-year average.