East Anglia land market review and outlook

By Robert Fairey, Brown & Co

2013 market in your region – key features

There has been a shortage of supply across all sectors. Demand for bare land and commercial farms has continued to strengthen during 2013 with land prices up 20%-plus in some areas. However, this has been patchy, producing a wide range in values from £8,500-14,000/acre depending on location, size, quality and so on.

  • Small farms (100-150 acres) with a substantial residential element have proved challenging to sell in parts of Norfolk and Suffolk where the improvement in the housing market is yet to take full effect.
  • Quality arable land still in demand, with prices increasing in the year
  • Buyers from both outside and inside the industry are competing
  • Inheritance tax still a driver

2014 outlook – main market influences

  • The supply of land being offered to the market will be a crucial factor
  • Improvements in other markets/economies that may give non-farming investors other options for investment, thereby removing them as competitors to farmer buyers.
  • Any significant change in farming profits

2014 outlook – what will happen to land prices?

Prices for the better quality arable land are likely to remain firm in 2014 and may increase by 5% to 10% depending on location. Prices for the less desirable land could remain static and may drop off in some places. Detailed knowledge of the local market to ensure sensible guide pricing will be critical next year.

How much land will come on the market in 2014?

There are no early signs of significant acreages coming forward at the start of next year so, at this stage, it appears supply could be similar to that in 2013.

Easiest farm or land to sell in 2014

A thousand acres of quality (Grades 1 or 2) bare arable land – do call me.

Most difficult farm to sell in 2014

A predominantly residential farm with substantial house and about 100 acres in a remote area.

Sale highlight of the year (pictured above)

Great Wilbraham Hall Farm, near Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, which sold shortly after its launch in April. This immaculate 718-acre commercial arable farm included a five-bedroom farmhouse, a good range of farm buildings with 2,000t of grain storage, four cottages and predominantly Grade 2 arable land so it was always likely to create interest. The guide price was £8.25m and there was substantial demand.