Late flush of land and farms closes a quiet year

Almost 20% less land has been openly marketed in Great Britain this year compared with last, reinforcing the strong demand seen in many areas.

Farmers Weekly’s Land Tracker, which monitors the area advertised each week,  shows a 19% reduction in area, to a total of 111,400 acres against 137,268 acres last year.

Some regions however have seen growth in the proportion of private sales so that these now represent up to 50% of the area being handled by agents.

See also Private deals suit both sides in tight land market

In the English market, about 9% less land has been marketed openly this year, although there has been a late flush of launches in the last few weeks, says Smiths Gore’s head of research Dr Jason Beedell.

So far this year the area of equipped land area is down 10% while 3% more bare land has been marketed than in 2013.

“In the last six weeks, 61 new properties covering 10,700 acres have been launched. This is 1,200 acres (13%) more than during the equivalent period last year and 16% above the five-year average”, he said.

“The market continues to be based upon demand from local and regional farmers with a number of larger investors, many of whom have already set up farming businesses, still looking for large lumps of land but not necessarily wanting the large farmhouse,” says the firm’s national head of farms and estates agency, Giles Wordsworth.

An analysis of supply by region shows that there have only been six dairy farms marketed outside the South West.

While land is in high demand in most areas, there are particularly popular counties, such as Hampshire where Smiths Gore sold the 1,400-acre Trinley Estate with a guide price of  £19.3m. However as prices have increased, so have purchaser’s requirements – and if these are not met they will not engage, says Smiths Gore.

 

Land for sale in England in 2014 to mid-November (number of sales)

 

East Midlands

East of England

North East

North West

South Central

South East

South West

West Midlands

Yorkshire & Humber

England

Arable

29

76

6

2

23

9

8

16

11

180

Dairy

1

   

2

   

9

2

1

15

Livestock

26

12

14

34

38

26

93

17

23

283

Mixed

12

13

3

5

17

8

35

15

7

115

Total

68

101

23

43

78

43

145

50

42

593

Source: Smiths Gore

While demand is generally strong, prices for land of very similar quality can vary very widely, says Bruton Knowles’ Matthew Peters. In the right place, Grade 3 land can make £10,000/acre-plus but in the wrong  location with little or no neighbour competition, it can struggle to get to £5,000/acre or £6,000/acre. “This also makes valuing land for loan security very difficult,” said Mr Peters. 

FW LAND TRACKER

     

W/e 28 Nov

2013

2014

Change

Acres

1,615

928

-43%

Cumulative

2013

2014

Change

Acres

138,882

112,346

-19%

 

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