South-west England remains popular with a large range of potential buyers, and attractive units prompted competitive bidding with strong results last year.
The area has also seen less of a reduction in supply on 2018 levels than others in the UK, though the level of demand still outweighs stock, maintaining good land values.
Prices for agricultural land vary significantly across the region, with certain locations attracting a premium, as do quality holdings with good access.
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The market for farms was surprisingly positive in 2019; throughout the South West, Stags sold 21 farms.
During the year, we saw an equal balance between the number of buyers looking for farms and land to the available stock.
It is apparent that buyers are taking a long-term view when considering purchasing a farm or land, despite short-term uncertainty.
We have also seen an increase in non-farmer buyers seeking holdings for lifestyle reasons.
The market for land has been very localised, with an increasingly wide variation in prices across the South West, and the majority of these buyers have been farmers seeking land for expansion.
Prices for agricultural land have ranged from £4,000/acre to £12,000/acre, with the best land continuing to attract a premium.
George Alder, partner, head of farm agency, Stags
Frustrated under bidders
2019 saw high demand from buyers for top-quality commercial farms and land.
The commercial farms and large parcels of top-quality land that did come to the market resulted in competitive bidding and often achieved in excess of the guide price.
The buyers interested in these farms included local landowners and farmers, neighbours, investors, institutions and rollover buyers.
Local farmers continue to be strong buyers in the market, with many looking to take opportunities to expand and diversify their businesses.
Demand continues to outweigh supply, with many under bidders for the farms sold in 2019 feeling frustrated, and still in the market for quality land and buildings.
The lack of supply helped maintain good land values across the region.
The range in land values continues to widen, with quality and location being major factors driving prices, as well as neighbouring interest.
Sophie Clotworthy, associate farm and rural agent, Woolley & Wallis
What sold well?
Woolley & Wallis marketed Thorneydown Farm, near Sixpenny Handley, on behalf of Dorset Council in July 2019.
The former dairy farm had 123 acres of land, a range of buildings, and a three-bedroom bungalow.
Guided at £1.65m, the farm saw competitive bidding from local farmers and landowners as well as investors and rollover buyers, which saw the farm achieve 10% more than the guide price.
What’s on the market?
Raddon Barton, in the Exe Valley near Exeter, was launched by Stags in January 2020.
It includes 113 acres, a five-bedroom house, and a range of modern farm buildings, including cattle and sheep housing, and a grain store.
It has a guide price of £1.8m.