Dip for first quarter in agent report

12 May 2000

Dip for first quarter in agent report

IN contrast to the RICS market survey, agent Strutt & Parker reports an average arable price of about £2500/acre for the first quarter of the year which represented a slight dip in value from the previous quarter.

"Although the first quarter of the year showed a slight fall of 3.3%, performance was still better than for the first quarter of 1999," says the firms Ian Hepburn.

Values have remained within a 5% range over the past 18 months but the range is widening. The average price paid for arable land in the north of England is now £2136/acre compared with £3130/acre in the eastern counties.

In March there was more than 39,000 acres on the market in England and Wales, according to Farmland Update which predicts the continued rise in availability for the near future. In particular many more smaller blocks of land are coming to the market as farms are rationalised to ease the effect of falling income.

Mr Hepburn says: "There could be a further depression in land prices this year except may be the residential farm which has performed well over the past five years and shows every sign of continuing to do so while money generated outside farming is available. For example, a 500 acre residential farm in the south of England which in 1994 sold for just over £1m went for £1.75m last year."

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