28 August 1998

Autumn pointer for buyer confidence

IN lots a 1000-acre mixed unit in Dorset could provide some evidence of the level of buyer confidence as the farmland market approaches the autumn selling phase.

Birch Close Farms include commercial dairy and arable units complemented by some residential appeal. Near Blandford at Charlton Marshall the mainly grade 3 chalkland units now are for sale as a whole – guide price in excess of £3.6m or in five principal lots.

One lot, about 400 acres of bare arable land, could provide the biggest test says Charlie Field, Symonds & Sampson, handling the sale jointly with FPDSavills. "Finding a buyer to take this on in one lot might take some time although Im aware of some local farmer buyers organising themselves into groups," he said.

Separated from the main farmstead it is in a ring fence and guided at about £2390/acre. Planning permission for a new dwelling was granted and there is a derelict house offering potential for restoration.

And the two dairy units of 200 and 160 cows are available separately. With the six-bedroom main house a traditional style dairy and 34 acres are guided at £610,000 although in view of the current strength of the market for good residential units Mr Field said this lot could well find a non-farmer buyer. Four cottages occupied on various tenures are included in the sale as a sub-lot – guide price £225,000.

However completed last year demand for Manor Farm dairy with two cottages and about 249 acres is the type of unit that expanding dairy farmers are seeking maintains Mr Field. The guide price is in excess of £950,000. The farms 2.4m litres of milk quota are for sale separately.

The two remaining lots include Manor Farm stud – a modern four-bedroom farm managers house and 47 acres with planning permission for a stud yard. A 161-acre block of arable land at Milton Abbas is guided at about £2170/acre.

Birch Close Farms could provide a good test for the autumn farmland market and are for sale as a whole or in five main lots.