The quality, location and accessibility of farmland is key to achieving the most interest and the best prices in north-west England, with the pull of the Lake District being particularly strong.
Values have remained fairly steady, with arable areas seeing the best of the market – grade 3 arable (£7,244/acre) achieves more than double the price for poor livestock land (£3,328/acre).
More acres have hit the market so far this year compared with the same time in 2018, but the number of launched farms is down, showing that larger units are coming to the fore.
While there has been a reduction in sales instructions as some vendors wait out the Brexit process, prices have been positively retained at around 2017-18 levels.
A particularly buoyant area is the market for amenity land and woodland, with demand and successful sales continuing to increase in this area, but good access is crucial.
Demand has also been high for bare blocks of land, which continue to sell well.
Understandably in the current market, sales progression has slowed, and it is taking longer from agreeing a sale through to exchange and completion. However, auctions have been plentiful with some astounding results.
Following the change in planning legislation for Class Q permitted development rights, we have already seen an increased supply of development properties come on to our books and expect this to continue.
Mark Barrow, head of land agency, H&H Land & Estates
The market continues to generate interest but the quality and location of assets is a still a significant driver for values and sales success.
Although there has not been the volume this year, the better and larger units suitable for dairy and arable have performed well despite the uncertainty of Brexit, with businesses expanding their operations and investors still in the market.
Smaller holdings with marginal land have been sluggish, particularly when poorly located and with poor access. Better quality bare land remains buoyant.
Marginal land that can be planted for forestry continues to see strong values, driven by investors.
Forestry in general is still buoyant, despite recently reduced timber prices, with a wide range of investors looking to make acquisitions, and creating a great diversification option for landowners.
Smallholdings remain popular although prospective purchasers can be a bit pickier in the current climate – the key to successful marketing is pricing the asset at a reasonable level.
We are still experiencing demand from people who run businesses from home, equine buyers and tourism interest; the Lake District factor still exists too.
Chris Edmunds, director, Davidson & Robertson
What’s on the market?
Carter’s Cottage, a stone livestock barn, and 55 acres of hill pasture land in North Yorkshire is on the market with H&H Land & Estates with a guide price of £215,000.
The cottage is derelict and requires complete renovation, but both buildings have the potential for conversion to dwellings, subject to the necessary consents.
What’s under offer?
In Cumbria, Davidson & Robertson launched 127-acre Row Farm with a guide price of £1.1m. The property, which included a range of buildings, is under offer in two lots, having received plenty of interest and several good offers at the closing date.