Forward-thinking buyers keen on ‘recession-proof’ land

Farmland seekers are looking to the future and taking advantage of the best opportunities as the spring market opens up, regardless of the continued Brexit uncertainty.

Demand is strong for good and accessible agricultural land, a trend that is expected to continue throughout the year.

South-west England remains popular with farmers looking to expand and with amenity buyers. Regional agent Stags has already completed on four farms this year and recently launched Waterbrooks Farm in north Devon (see What’s on the market?).

See also: Top 6 issues that hold up farm sales and how to avoid them

George Alder, partner and head of farm agency at Stags, said: “Farmers know that if they don’t buy now they might not have the chance again and people are only selling if they really need to, due to retirement or another change in circumstances.

“The best land in the right location is almost recession-proof and there is still money out there from people taking a long-term view and waiting for the right opportunity.”

More on the market

In Fisher German’s 2019 Farmland Review, senior associate Richard Gadd said he expected the volume of farmland on the open market this year to increase by 5-10% on 2018 levels.

This will be based on retirement sales and a move away from bare agricultural investments for long-term and institutional investors.

See also: Increased competition for UK farmland driven by wine sector

He added that farmers and landowners would need to consider whether their existing holdings were suitable in scale and quality for their objectives and he expected buyers to demand more in-depth evidence of farming practices when looking to buy – natural capital being the key phrase.

“Well located, diversified and productive holdings will retain value on the back of increasing demand,” Mr Gadd said.

“We forecast continued and strengthening interest in smaller residential farms that provide amenity value and non-agricultural development opportunities.

“Farmers and institutional investors will likely represent the majority of vendors.”

Fisher German predictions for 2019

  • Increased demand for strategic and well-diversified holdings
  • Small increase in supply of land to the market
  • Softening demand for dairy and mixed farms
  • Wait-and-see approach to continue in the short term
  • Greater focus on holdings where natural capital can be enhanced
  • Lifestyle and amenity buyers to bolster demand for smaller acreages.

What’s on the market?

Traditional Devon farm

Aerial view of farm

Waterbrooks Farm © Stags

Waterbrooks Farm in north Devon, close to Exmoor National Park, has 146 acres of pasture and 107 acres of woodland and is available as one lot with selling agent Stags.

The holding comes with a Grade II listed traditional five-bedroom longhouse and a range of stone outbuildings and has a guide price of £2.15m.

Exmoor launch

Aerial view of farm

Great Nurcott Farms © Exmoor Farmers

Exmoor Farmers and Greenslade Taylor Hunt have jointly launched the 457-acre Great Nurcott Farm, Winsford, in Exmoor National Park.

The land is pasture and woodland and comes with a six-bedroom house, a range of farm buildings, a stable block and shooting rights.

The farm is available as a whole with a guide price of £2.975m or in four lots, with separate guide prices.

Cornwall offering

Aerial view of farm buildings

Great Beer Farm © DR Kivell and Partners

Great Beer Farm covers 167 acres of arable, pasture and woodland in Marhamchurch, near Bude in north Cornwall.

With a five-bedroom farmhouse, three-bedroom bungalow and a range of farm buildings, it has a guide price of £1.8m with selling agent DR Kivell & Partners.

Scottish land

Land at Calderside © Galbraith

Just over 149 acres of land at Calderside, near Glasgow, has been launched by Galbraith at offers above £315,000.

The soil type is productive grade 3.2 and grade 4.2 arable and grassland.

Fishing income

Farmhouse and driveway

Bernithan Court © Strutt and Parker

Bernithan Court, near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, has 120 acres of arable, pasture and woodland and is home to Redmire Pool, well known for carp fishing.

The farm comes with a nine-bedroom house, two semi-detached cottages and a range of buildings.

It has a guide price of £3.25m with Strutt & Parker.

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