Auction sales of English and Welsh farmland have yielded strong results in the past six months.
Small blocks grassland and mixed farms have all met or exceeded their guide prices with location and quality key to attracting strong, competitive bidding.
Ben Pike spoke to agents across England and Wales for a snapshot of how the auction market is performing.
Location: Five miles north of Sherborne, Somerset
Description: A block of about 53 acres split in to three fields of level, arable-capable land. Currently in maize stubble and grass, stock-proof and with mains water supply.
Guide price: £425,000 to £475,000
Sale price: £660,000
Agent comment: Martin Hemmett, a partner with Cooper & Tanner, said: “The price achieved is perhaps a sign of the widening of the gap between good and less good land, although it probably again demonstrates that land prices are more about the location and bidders rather than other factors.”
See also: Gated farm lane under dispute
Location: Two miles south of Chard, Somerset
Description: About 44 acres of pasture used for livestock grazing and mowing. Split in to lots of 31 acres, 10 acres and three acres.
Guide price: £280,000 as a whole or in three lots.
Total sale price: £402,000
Agent comment: Greenslade Taylor Hunt partner Will Handel said: “Land in this area offering versatility rarely comes for sale and the breakdown of lots resulted in interest from a variety of sectors.”
Location: Long Clawson, eight miles from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
Description: About 78 acres of rich Grade 3 Leicestershire cow pasture with a four-bedroom house and buildings both in need of renovation.
Guide price: £700,000 as a whole, or in three lots.
Total sale price: £845,000
Agent comment: Ben Shouler, a partner at Shouler & Son, said: “Good demand locally and from further afield saw the guide price exceeded comfortably. This was a small farm well suited to auction due to its condition and was bought by a local family.”
Chase Lane Farm
Location: Wickwar, Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire
Description: A 65-acre former county council dairy farm with potential to convert two agricultural buildings to houses. All the Grade 3 land is put to pasture.
Guide price: £1.14m as a whole, or in three lots.
Total sale price: £1.15m
Agent comment: Will Kerton, partner at Knight Frank in Worcester, said: “A busy auction room led to strong competitive bidding on all three lots sold on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council. The same buyer bought lots one and two to keep the farm as one. Lot three went to a buyer in the immediate vicinity.
Mowbray Hall Farm
Location: Grewelthorpe, near Ripon, North Yorkshire
Description: A grassland farm brought to auction following the retirement of a dairy farming family. About 145 acres of Grade 3 land with a farmhouse, stock housing and milking parlour.
Guide price: £1.5m
Sale price: £2.02m
Agent comment: Sarah Jessop, property manager at Robin Jessop, said: “We had considerable interest with 40 viewings and 14 registered bidders. Bidding was brisk with £50,000 bids until the last bid of £20,000 and the successful bidder was a lifestyle buyer from London.”
Location: Llandyrnog , three miles from Denbigh, Denbighshire
Description: Just over 10 acres of Grade 1 agricultural land put to grass with good access and mains water included.
Guide price: £12,000 to £15,000/acre
Sale price: £126,000
Agent comment: Eifion Bibby, senior consultant at Davis Meade Property Consultants, said: “After several bids the hammer eventually fell to an adjacent landowner at a price just over £12,500/acre.”
Location: Near Denbigh, Denbighshire
Description: A north Wales grassland farm with about 75 acres in temporary and permanent grass. Modern Dutch barn and steel-framed shed with a four-bedroom farmhouse.
Guide price: £850,000
Sale price: £850,000
Agent comment: David Giles, director at Halls, said: “I was delighted to have sold Goblin Farm for its guide price at a time when there was a certain amount of reservation in the farming sector due to challenging market conditions.”
Four Elms Farm
Location: Ottery St Mary, east Devon
Description: A 132-acre mixed, former dairy farm with farmhouse, range of traditional and modern farm buildings and quality Grade 2 soils capable of producing a variety of arable crops.
Guide price: £1.525m to £1.675m in 7 lots
Total sale price: £2.015m
Agent comment: George Alder, associate partner at Stags, said: “The land had strong interest from local farmers seeking expansion. The South West land market remains very location specific, with buyers taking a long-term view. We have just launched eight news farms to the market but it is too early to say how quickly these will convert to sales.”