CAP clarity sees a sharp rise in land availability

More land has found its way onto the market in commercial farming areas since January now vendors have a clearer understanding of CAP reform.

According to the latest figures from agent Savills, 61,850ha (152,833 acres) of land were marketed in England, Scotland and Wales by the end of September, almost 45% more than was launched in the same period last year.

In the East Midlands, supply doubled to 23,190 acres, the highest availability in at least the past seven years.

William Price of Savills’ Lincoln office said the May 16 deadline for claiming and establishing the single farm payment for the first time had been the catalyst.

“We could see more in the spring; wheat at 60/t will start filtering through farmers’ accounts and some might be saying: Is this a game I can afford to be in?’.”

Mr Price said he wasn’t expecting a flood, so prices were unlikely to collapse, although buyers were becoming more price-sensitive and there would be pressure on farms and land in less popular areas.

Some arable land in the county had been selling for significantly under 2000/acre, he said, while a number of large units were still on the market after almost a year.

Not all parts of the country, however, saw an increase in land supply. In the south-east the amount slipped almost 8% to 4802ha (11,866 acres).

Crispin Holborow, head of farms sales at Savills, said this was probably because the market in the area was more residentially driven and farmers had more opportunities to diversify.

Mr Holborow said prices were generally remaining firm but a further increase in acres for sale next spring could put them under pressure.

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