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11 June, 2018 - 10:58 By Kate Sweeney

Farmland market recording healthy pipeline in East

A high volume of farmland stock is set to come to market over the coming months, according to new data from Carter Jonas. 

Severe weather conditions in Q1 2018 had a negative impact on activity, however 6,000 acres of farmland are due to enter the market over the current and subsequent quarter, comprising of predominantly smaller lots.

The first three months of 2018 recorded a minimal dip in average land values in England and Wales, dropping 0.6 per cent to £8,917. This reflects market fluctuations as well as the ongoing effect of protracted Brexit negotiations and uncertainty surrounding the future of support payments for rural businesses.

Whilst values remain the highest in Southern and Central England, where demand for arable land is most pronounced, land in the North West has recorded an average increase of £5,000 per acre and is now some of the most expensive in the country. Many eastern regions saw values dip, reaching an average of £8,500 per acre, while prices in Wales, the South West and the Midlands remained constant.

Jack Cook, rural surveyor at Carter Jonas in Cambridge, said: “The supply of land across the open market in the East has continued to show steady growth. Landowners with properties that offer more than commercial farming opportunities, are choosing to go to sell on the open market, to seek out lifestyle buyers, rather than selling privately. 

“Many of the farms coming to the market have a residential element, and so the need for open marketing is paramount, in order to correctly assess the market value. 

“While off-market deals remain a strong option for vendors to initially test the local market, they are better suited for bare arable land assets.
“In terms of demand, the scale and profile of buyers in the East continues to show diversity, but centres around farmers, lifestyle buyers, and buyers with rollover funds.

“We expect land values to remain consistent, with each individual site finding its own price. Some assets, attracting only agricultural interest, may find themselves under the market average, while those with long term development potential, or high sporting value, will outperform the market.
 
“As residential farms appear to be selling more strongly than they were, perhaps, two years ago, this part of the market may be key in driving average values over the next two years.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Jack Cook

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