24 July 1998

Housing factor a big influence in SWmarket

By Louise Rose

FARMS in the south-west are now selling in three tiers with the residential type unit selling most strongly often to non-farming buyers.

"Well located units with good houses are the most sought after properties at the moment," says Robin Thomas, Strutt & Parker. "Non-farmers are happy to purchase a couple of hundred acres and let it on a farm business tenancy or a grazing licence".

Residential farms are up in value by at least 6% from last year maintains Mr Thomas. He is taking a small residential and amenity unit to auction at the end of this month in two lots.

With 75 acres of grade 1 land, the house and farm buildings including some potato storage are guided at £400,000 and an 18-acre field is available separately.

And in Cornwall the 673-acre Bonython Estate, near Helston, guided at £2.4m for the whole to date has received strong interest from London and the home counties says selling agent Stratton & Holborrow.

Good quality commercial farms are also meeting good demand especially those including established or offering good opportunities for diversification.

Great Leigh Farm, Doddiscombe Leigh, near Exeter, is for sale for in the region of £750,000 and Mr Thomas maintains the alternative income available from some holiday cottages, bed and breakfast units and fishing rights will broaden the 169-acre farms appeal, coupled with the less favoured area status and grant for falling within an environmentally sensitive area.

However the marginal hill farms with grades 3 and 4 land and a mediocre house are proving difficult to sell, he said. "Bare land now is back on last years values with arable land at about £2500/acre from nearer £3000/acre and grassland is around the £2000/acre mark".

David Kivell, Kivells Tavistock, says: "Demand remains good for 200-300 acre dairy and arable farms and any units with a good quality well located house."

He is selling a 207-acre dairy farm at Pendoggett near Port Isaac which benefits from an additional three bedroom cottage suited to holiday lets. In a ring fence, Treharrock Farm includes 120 acres of arable land, extensive dairy housing for upto 180 cows and a five-bedroom farmhouse – as a whole it is guided at £650,000.

Also near Plymouth, Rendells recently completed the sale of a mainly grassland unit for a figure close to the £350,000 guide.

Truelove Farm, Shaugh Prior, included a five-bedroom farmhouse in need of complete modernisation, a range of traditional farm buildings and 138 acres.

"Despite interest from some local farmers in parts of the unit it sold to an existing farmer," said the firms Peter Farnsworth.

Great Leigh Farm, Doddiscombsleigh, near Exeter, Devon, includes various opportunities for generating income from outside agriculture. The 169-acre unit is guided at £750,000 for the whole by Strutt & Parker.