Farmland in your area 2023: Wales

Intense competition among farmers in some Welsh regions led to farmland changing hands at more than £20,000/acre in 2023.

Known hotspots, including Anglesey and the Vale of Clwyd which have high concentrations of expanding holdings and where supply has been tight in recent years, generated significant sums for sellers that did bring land to the market.

Agents anticipate a greater level of supply across Wales in 2024, although with lingering nervousness around interest rates and uncertainty on the payment rates the Welsh government will set for the new Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS).

Challenges in achieving sales at the prices vendors might hope for are likely to be a feature.

See also: Business Clinic: a tricky family farm ownership dispute

Sub-markets set price records

Hugh O’Donnell, partner, Carter Jonas

In north and mid-Wales we saw some good-sized, well-presented commercial units come to the market, and overall a good level of interest from serious parties, notably farmers.

Some regions with very strong “sub-markets” set new price records – land in the Vale of Clwyd which offered “once in a generation” opportunities to buy – sold for more than £20,000/acre to farmer buyers.

Across Wales, strong cropping land often achieved in excess of £10,000/acre.

Although 2023 was a decent year for the farmland market, interest rates did have an effect, reducing the number of buyers because farm businesses, and indeed banks, looked more carefully at the serviceability of loans.

Going forward, it would be really useful to get some “meat on the bones” from the Welsh government on the Sustainable Farming Scheme payment rates.

For hill units especially that is crucial; banks and farmers like certainty, they want to know where they are at with future revenue.

Farmers lead with competitive bids

Will Whittaker, director, Strutt & Parker

Farmers are still the main buyer type in the Welsh farmland market.

There continues to be some interest in buying land for forestry and natural capital purposes, but it is farmers who are tending to come forward with the more competitive bids.

In terms of fully equipped farms, it was livestock and mixed units which predominantly came to the market in 2023, with location proving the critical factor in the success of sales.

Farms which had “land-hungry” neighbours on the doorstep looking to expand – or which are close to one of the main arterial routes across Wales – have sold well.

However, properties in more remote locations have proved slightly more of a challenge. In our experience, accessibility is a must for any buyers looking to relocate to Wales.

Looking ahead, we anticipate that a little more supply could come to the market in 2024, with retirement being the main factor.

The days of there always being an automatic successor seem to be over, so we are starting to see more planned retirements.  

Under offer

Fach-Hir, a 133-acre grassland farm at Brooks near Welshpool with a range of traditional farm buildings and three modern farm buildings, was marketed by Strutt & Parker at a guide price of £1.95m.

The farm is under offer to a buyer from the local area.

Welsh farm

Fach Hir Farm © Strutt & Parker

Sold in 2023

Sylfaen Farm, Barmouth, a productive and diversified hill farm with a five-bedroom farmhouse and a three bedroom holiday cottage, was on the market for £4m with Carter Jonas.

It has 1,338 acres and a 34kw hydro-electric scheme.

Sylfaen Farm

Sylfaen Farm © Carter Jonas

On the market

Ynysgreigiog Farm, near Machynlleth, is a productive livestock holding with about 157 acres of improved grassland, pasture and rougher grazing and woodland in a ring-fenced block.

It has a listed farmhouse and modern farm buildings and is on the market with Carter Jonas at a guide price of £1.395m

Coming to the market in mid-February through Powells Rural is Llwyn Celyn, near Pontypridd, approximately 595 acres of improved and semi-natural grassland with two farmhouses, a livery business and a significant range of agricultural and livestock buildings.

It is offered by private treaty, with vacant possession, in up to three lots at a £4.25m guide price for the whole. 

Welsh farmland

Ynysgreigiog farmland © Carter Jonas

In numbers

Land sales

  • 10,698 Acres advertised in 2021
  • 11,382 Acres advertised in 2022
  • 15,694 Acres advertised in 2023
  • 38% % change end November 22 to end November 23

Acres advertised to end November each year

Land value 2023

  • £8,865/acre Average price paid for prime dairy land
  • £7,757 Average price paid for pasture land
  • £5,310 Poorer pasture price

Source: Savills’ farmland supply database which is based on long-run monitoring of lowland farms and farmland of more than 50 acres, publicly advertised in national and regional printed media and online property portals.