21 February 1997

Upswing for tenancies

THE long-term decline in the tenanted sector has been reversed, with more new land being offered for letting and the average length of new tenancies increasing.

That is the main finding of the most recent annual survey of tenanted farms by the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers, covering 3800 holdings on 262,000 acres in England and Wales.

The survey runs from Nov 1995 to Oct 1996 and, as such, is the first to cover a full 12 months of Farm Business Tenancies.

A net inflow of 30,000 acres of previously un-let land was picked up, following many years of shrinkage. Between 1988 and 1994, for example, the CAAV recorded a net loss of 440,000 acres from the tenanted sector.

"What is most striking is that so much new land is being let and so little taken back at a time of high land prices and generally good profits from farming," says CAAV president, Philip Hutley.

Almost one in five of the FBTs was on land not previously let, and some units were being purchased specifically for letting. Over 80% of the old style tenancies that ended were re-let as FBTs.n