25 September 1998

Uncertainty fails to affect prices

DESPITE a reduced number of sales by auction so far this year – a sign of the uncertainty now felt in the farmland market – some good prices are still achieved for farms and parcels of land.

Near Hereford just over 120 acres including 65 acres eligible for arable area aid recently went under the hammer in four lots. The four-bedroom house in need of modernisation, a range of traditional farm buildings and 90 acres in a ring fence achieved £376,000 – the pre-auction guide was £325,000.

"There were plenty of bidders in the room," says Andrew Morgan, Bruton Knowles, "Nupton Farm has plenty of scope and is in a popular location where little land comes up for sale".

Also lot 2, a 16.5-acre arable field sold to a local farmer for £51,000 and 6 acres owned by the farms former tenant achieved £16,000. Lot 4 an offlying 9-acre block of pasture proved the popularity of small blocks of land making £20,000.

"The farm is a good working unit needing some capital expenditure but it also has a good residential/amenity appeal," said Mr Morgan.

In North Yorkshire, near Richmond, Brancas Farm, Caldwell sold at auction with the main farming unit, which was offered in three lots, selling as one achieving £320,000 (£3053/acre).

"On the day there were two interested parties – both farmers – one local and one looking to move down from Scotland," said auctioneer Robin Jessop, Northallerton Estate Agency.

However the local, the son of the farms former tenant, was the successful purchaser. He lacked succession rights due to farming commitments elsewhere.

The mixed unit in a ring fence included a farmhouse in need of modernisation, a range of traditional stone farm buildings and some general purpose accommodation. Most of the 105 acres sold were eligible for arable area aid payments.

Lot 4 a 45-acre reclaimed quarry now classified permanent pasture was guided at offers between £500-1000/acre and achieved £1316/acre – £59,000 when purchased on behalf of the neighbouring estate.

"Deals are moving on steadily but the job is going to become increasingly difficult," said Mr Jessop, "There are signs that the current farming situation is making one or two people think about selling".

Now he is marketing 83 acres of permanent pasture near Bedale with a range of old farm buildings. In a ring fence it is guided at offers between £1500-2000/acre and Mr Jessop anticipates a farming purchaser. &#42