Farmland in your area 2024: South-west England

The number of farms put up for sale in the south-west of England increased in 2023, but demand still outstripped supply.

Agents report a strengthening of buyer interest from investors, natural capital investment companies and lifestyle buyers, but farmers remained strong competitors.

That competing demand helped to preserve farmland values in the region.

See also: Permitted development – a checklist before starting a project

In a trend seen in other parts of the UK, the market for larger commercial farms in the South West was particularly strong.

Residential farm buyers, who had to factor in higher interest rates and building costs, were more selective.

Top-quality farms will still create high levels of interest

George Alder, head of farm agency, Stags

Reductions in Basic Payment Scheme payments, higher borrowing costs, high input costs and changes to agricultural policy have had little impact on farm and land values in the South West to date.

In 2023, Stags saw a 23% increase in the number of farm instructions and a marginal increase in land instructions compared to 2022.

The market for larger commercial farms remains strong, with demand from both farmer buyers looking to expand their business and buyers with rollover funds looking to invest into agricultural property.

Demand from farmers keen to invest to expand their holdings is a further firming factor.

We have also seen greater demand from community tree planting schemes and independent undertakings to improve the countryside for environmental reasons.

For 2024, we expect the farmland market to remain resilient against flat economic growth, interest rate fluctuations, flat commodity prices and climate change pressures, suggesting more will look to farmland as a safe, long-term investment, as they have in the past.

Land market to remain resilient in 2024

Sophie Clotworthy, associate farm and rural agent, Woolley & Wallis

Top-quality farms and productive parcels of bare land generated a large amount of interest in 2023

There were competitive bidding situations because, although there were more farms launched on to the market than in the previous year, demand still exceeded supply.

Smaller blocks of bare pasture and arable land or water meadows generated high levels of interest from a wide range of buyers, often being sold for more than the guide price.

There remain for 2024 plenty of cash buyers able to proceed, from a number of different areas and backgrounds, and looking for large commercial farms and blocks of bare farmland.

The typical residential farm of approximately 100 acres with outbuildings set within a ring fence is also in high demand, and farms with diversification and development potential also catch the eye of buyers.

There are plenty of uncertainties and challenges ahead, but the demand for land will remain strong in 2024, and top-quality farms will still create high levels of interest and achieve good prices.

Sold in 2023

A 100-acre block of gently sloping, free-draining Grade 3 pasture land at Lockerley, including eight acres of native woodland, was sold by Woolley & Wallis to a local farming landowner for £1.1m, exceeding its guide price thanks to competitive bidding.

Grade 3 pasture land at Lockerley

© Woolley & Wallis

Golden Valley Farm, a mixed holding at Charlton Horethorne, Somerset, has about 164 acres, a farmhouse, modern buildings and a courtyard of stone barns.

It was sold by Stags to a local farmer, who was expanding their holding, for more than its £3.58m guide price.

Golden Valley Farm

© Stags

What’s on the market?

Stags is set to launch a South Devon farm near Kingswear, Brixham.

Higher Greenaway has about 251 acres of productive, gently sloping arable and pasture land, and with two semi-detached residential properties.

Higher Greenaway

Higher Greenaway © Stags

The estate has a guide price of £2.8m.

A ring-fenced block of about 34 acres of gently sloping pasture land in a secluded setting at Lyneham, Chippenham, is being marketed by Woolley & Wallis at a £410,000 guide.

Land at Lyneham, Chippenham

Land at Lyneham, Chippenham © Woolley & Wallis

The land is divided into good-sized enclosures with stock-proof fencing and mature hedges.

In numbers

Land sales 2023

  • 10,900 Acres advertised in 2022
  • 9,800 Acres advertised in 2023
  • 43 Farms launched in 2022
  • 47 Farms launched in 2023

Land value 2023

  • £9,500/acre Average price paid for arable land
  • £21,600/acre Highest price paid for arable land
  • £7,500/acre Average price paid for pasture land
  • £15,000/acre Highest price paid for pasture land

Source: Regional pricing data supplied by Strutt & Parker is for blocks of more than 100 acres. 2023 data is for January to end September