Aberdeenshire Christmas tree farm offers 4%-plus return

Aberdeenshire, in north-east Scotland, sees a 672-acre farm launched on the market this week in a region renowned for its fertile soil, in this case planted to Christmas trees.

Good, commercial Aberdeenshire farms have frequently set the pace for the rest of Scotland, and by virtue of its size, and the fact that there are no buildings, the sale of Tillygreig Farm at Newmachar will provide a interesting benchmark for values.

See also: Farm boosts profits with Christmas trees

Tillygreig Farm is guided at offers over £3.25 million, which puts it at less that £5,000/acre and half the price of some comparable sales south of the border.

The potential to obtain planning consent for a farmhouse and agricultural buildings should add to its appeal – the farm lies just 14 miles north of Aberdeen in a popular and accessible location. The original buildings were sold off some years ago.

There continues to be good demand for quality farmland in Aberdeenshire, with few properties of this scale available in the market, and land prices are continuing to rise, according to selling agent John Clegg.

The agent say it is ideally suited for investors looking for high-quality land that “will continue to benefit from capital appreciation”.

Little management is required in the short term, thanks to a leaseback offer providing what is described as a very attractive rent.

At £140,000 a year for a five-year period, it indicates an immediate return on capital of well over 4%, and there may be the chance to extend this.

“The appeal of this farmland investment is that the purchaser can opt to return the land, currently under Christmas trees, back into agricultural production at the end of the current rotation or continue with another crop of Christmas trees in return for a competitive rent,” says John Clegg’s Patrick Porteous.

Also available from John Clegg & Co is Towleys, a farm near Auchleven – about 20 miles north west of Tillygreig.

Formerly an agricultural unit, it has a farmhouse and agricultural storage facilities, but it is now planted up with a range of deciduous and broadleaf trees.

Like Tillygreig, but unusually for forestry, a competitive rent would be offered by the vendor in return for a leaseback. (John Clegg & Co 0131 229 8800)

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