23 August 1996

No taker for biggie

UNABLE to find a buyer willing to pay the £2.5m guide to take on an investment generating over £80,000 a year at a 420-acre farm the selling agent has substantially relotted.

Marketed last September, Dower House Farm, near Lewes, East Sussex includes three craft workshop units, seven cottages, arable, grass and woodland.

"Although the return reflects a yield of 15-16%, the investment is not what the farmer buyer wants," says Mark McAndrew of agent Strutt & Parker, "However I could sell the land tomorrow to local farmers."

Relotting includes each of the workshops being offered separately and interest for one unit which is guided at £250,000 generating an annual income of £30,000 has been received from a local investor.

And the six-bedroom house, a workshop and 200 acres of amenity land are guided at £750,000, which Mr McAndrew says if purchased with a 100% mortgage the income from the workshop (£30,000 a year) would pay half of.

In Norfolk the £1.65m guide was topped considerably in the recent sale of the 557-acre Park Farm, Shipdham, near Dereham.

Bought by a local farmer, agent David Hooper of Brown & Co says: "There was serious competition from within East Anglia with the land well exceeding the £2600/acre guide."

Lacking irrigation the grade 3 land is less drought prone than lighter soils which is becoming an important consideration after the past few summers.

Also he is selling 212 acres of mainly arable land further north-east in Norfolk near North Walsham. The grade 2 and 3 potato land lacks irrigation and is guided at £750,000 for the whole.