5 April 2002

SWdemand outstrips supply

DEMAND is still well in excess of supply in the south-west of the country, reckons one local agent.

"For most properties I think the market could cope with three times the volume we are seeing now, and for the best, even a fivefold increase would be soaked up," says Strutt & Parkers Exeter-based agent Robin Thomas.

Naturally, Mr Thomas feels the two properties he is due to launch over the next few weeks fall into the latter category. Both will certainly appeal to the residential buyers currently active in the region.

Stream Farm, near Broomfield, Somerset, is on the market for £1.25m following the decision of its globe-trotting owners to join the steady stream of UK farmers relocating to New Zealand.

Neil and Sue Bruce-Miller have toured some of the most exotic parts of the world, including Sierra Leone and the Congo, with tobacco giant BAT, and Mrs Bruce-Miller says 155-acre Stream Farm, which they purchased eight years ago, was destined to be the couples final stop, but now they are planning "one last move".

Although no longer a viable agricultural proposition, the holding has a number of other strings to its bow. Top of the list is an extensively renovated five-bedroomed house with attractive views over a trout lake that has been run on a commercial basis.

Planning permission has also been granted to convert the range of traditional buildings into seven holiday cottages, as well as putting an indoor swimming pool into a Dutch barn.

Much of the farm has been let on an FBT, an arrangement that the new owners could continue, says Mr Thomas. The Bruce- Millers have also been running their own herd of Dexter cattle that is up for sale too.

Further west in Devon, the Sandridge Barton Estate, six miles via ferry from Dartmouth, has more agricultural interest, but again the 405-acre estate, jointly available with Northants agent Richard Stanley, will likely attract amenity buyers.

The whole property, guided at £4.5m, has an annual income of £100,000, some of which is generated from a 185-acre dairy farm let on an AHA 86 tenancy with a further 132 acres of arable land let under FBT and share farming agreements.

However, the most profitable aspect of the unit is the five-bedroomed Grade 2 listed Georgian principal dwelling that commands weekly holiday rents of around £2000 per week. A converted boathouse on the River Dart is also rented out. &#42