The East Midlands has managed with the effects of Covid-19 fairly well in a year when national land supply was down by one-third.
Acres launched to the open market in this area in 2020 decreased by just 7% on 2019, and the number of farms launched was up from 48 to 57, according to Savills.
Following the recent deal with the EU, many will be hoping for some clarity, but with the full effect of the pandemic and the Agriculture Act still to come, agents warn uncertainty may be on the cards for a while longer.
Uncertainty the new norm
Market values remain strong in our area and are reflective of quality and versatility of the property for sale.
Predominantly led by the lack of supply, taxation benefits, availability of affordable finance and non-farming income opportunities, sales range from £11,000-£15,000/acre. Where land is of a lower quality, with reduced versatility, values remain under £10,000/acre.
We have offered for sale and completed on more land in 2020 than in recent years, with many sales concluded privately.
Noteworthy completions include 140 acres of arable land sold in Leicestershire for £14,000/acre, 100 acres of arable land in north Leicestershire for £13,000/acre, and 200 acres of grass and arable land in Northamptonshire for about £10,000/acre.
The full economic impact of Covid-19 and the Agriculture Bill is yet to play out, but active buyers remain in good number. Perhaps uncertainty is becoming our modus operandi. 2020 has certainly provided a viable training ground for fast reactions and nimble minds.
Tim Howard, partner, Howkins & Harrison
The farmland market in the East Midlands has experienced a rollercoaster ride this year. The uncertainties of Brexit and a rotten harvest have further dampened enthusiasm. Farmland remains in tight supply as it is concentrated in fewer hands.
Investors with funds are still out there. With homeowners wanting to live in the countryside, we expect to see renewed enthusiasm for investment in farmland. We have the best of it in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire and they are not making any more.
Generally, there have been few farms on the market. We have seen a range for land values, with good land in the right location making a strong price and remote, poor land struggling.
It has become more difficult to predict the likely result when a farm is offered for sale but, although there are significant variations, the market has proved resilient during a very turbulent period.
Ian Walter, senior partner, JH Walter
Autumn launch under offer
Howkins & Harrison launched the 170-acre Wood View Farm near Stapleton, Leicestershire, in the autumn of 2020.
The dairy farm includes a four-bedroom house, bungalow and a range of buildings and is currently under offer from a farmer in excess of its £2.3m guide.
What’s on the market?
In Oxfordshire, about 242 acres of productive arable land at the edge of Godington village is available with Howkins & Harrison.
The block is guided at £2.35m.