Differing views on bare land values

The average value of bare land in England remains well above £6,000/acre, but by exactly how much is open to question.

New figures from Knight Frank’s opinion-based index show bare land was worth £6,220/acre in the third quarter of 2012, a fall of 1.2% on the April-June figure.

Smiths Gore’s figure, based on advertised land, showed a 4% increase to £6,600/acre for the first half of the third quarter, a figure the company expects to hold through the entire quarter.

Andrew Shirley, head of rural property research at Knight Frank, did not believe his company’s findings marked the beginning of a slide in prices. Where there was strong demand, farmland had still been selling very well, he said.

“What we have noticed, though, is that the two-tier nature of the market is becoming increasingly pronounced and it is this that has helped to peg back our index.

“The overall trend is for upwards growth. Over the next 12 months we predict values will rise by 4-5%.”

Giles Wordsworth, head of farm agency at Smiths Gore, said his figures reflected a lack of bare land for which farmers were competing strongly. Just 1,600 acres came to the market during the first half of the July to September period.

Equipped farm values remained static at £9,600/acre with 9,300 acres being marketed. Overall farmland values rose by 1% to £9,000/acre, he added.

Fewer than 63,000 acres had been marketed this year, said Jason Beedell, head of research at Smiths Gore. If the trend continued, the 2012 total would fall below 80,000 acres, the lowest amount ever, he added.