8 December 2000

Two farms go on market at wrong time of year

By Andrew Shirley

TWO agents have braved the weather and launched farms onto an otherwise barren winter market.

Traditionally December is not considered the time to sell, prompting some observers to speculate the properties are being rushed onto to the market to avoid a downturn in prices in 2001.

However both Humberts and Carter Jonas believe residential appeal will drive both sales and are confident they can buck the seasonal trend.

Humberts is offering the 654-acre Redrice Estate near Andover, Hampshire for £3m as a whole or in eight lots. Over 550 acres are IACS-registered and there is a small, but established, pheasant shoot.

The estate includes a substantial five-bedroomed farmhouse and four other dwellings and selling agent Jason Lewis believes that this "strong" residential appeal will attract many potential buyers. The firm has already sent out more than 350 sets of particulars, he adds.

Mr. Lewis says the timing of the sale was not intentional, but brought about by the current tenant surrendering possession early next year. However, he feels buyers have had relatively little to choose from all year and marketing now before the usual flush of spring properties could be to the vendors advantage.

In Oxfordshire Carter Jonas also reports "fantastic" interest for the time of year in its latest offering, the 455-acre Watergate Farm, close to Bicester.

Agent Mark Charter says the farm has been lotted to broaden residential appeal and is optimistic about the prospect of completing a sale early in the New Year.

"Because the present owners are retiring from farming and City bonuses are around the corner we feel now is as good a time as any to sell," said Mr. Charter commenting on the timing of the sale.

Despite speculation that values may drop in the next few months most agents predict a limited supply of properties will keep prices firm.

"Next year we still expect only a steady trickle of farms to come on the market," said Mr. Charter. He believes many farmers, rather than giving up their land, will opt to have it contracted or let out under a farm business tenancy agreement.

Redrice Estate near Andover, Hampshire, is on the market, with Carter Jonas who are guiding the farm at £3m as a whole.