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Land values soar
RECORD-breaking farmland values have smashed through the £9,000 an acre barrier with less land coming on to the market.
The average value of English farmland rose by one per cent to £9,000 between July 1 and August 15 – three per cent up since the start of the year.
The North-West region was the most active in terms of sales while the North-East was the least active.
Giles Wordsworth, head of farm agency at Smiths Gore, said the figure masks a difference between bare and equipped land, which is land with houses and buldings.
He said: “Bare land values rose by four per cent to £6,600 an acre since July 1, while equipped values held constant at £9,600. Farmers remain the dominant buyers and are competing strongly for bare land.
“As more bare land sales are for smaller areas than equipped farms, more farmers can raise the capital to bid for them, so there tends to be more competition.”
Dr Jason Beedell, the company’s head of research, said that only 10,900 acres were marketed between July 1 and August 15 – 37 per cent less than in the same period last year.
“Under 63,000 acres have been marketed this year so far and, if the trend continues, less than 80,000 acres will be marketed this year which is the lowest amount ever,” he said.
Smiths Gore research is for the first half of the third quarter. It shows a total of 64 farms and parcels of land more than 50 acres were marketed in the first half of the third quarter – lower than the 82 marketed during the same period in both 2011 and 2010.
The total amount of land for sale only amounted to 10,900 acres compared to 17,400 in the same period in 2011 and 17,100 in 2010.
In regard to equipped farms, 48 were marketed and 9,300 acres of land, compared to 60 properties and 14,100 acres in 2011 and 53 properties and 13,200 acres in 2010.
Only 16 parcels of bare land totalling 1,600 acres were marketed in the period, compared with 22 parcels totalling 3,300 acres in 2011 and 29 totalling 3,900 acres in 2010.
The North-West region was the most active with 12 farms and 1,100 acres sold while the North-East was the least active with just two farms totalling 300 acres sold. Yorkshire and Humber saw nine farms totalling 1,000 acres sold.
The West Midlands was the most active in terms of acreage marketed – nine farms and 1,900 acres.
The Smiths Gore figures are based on all sales of publicly marketed farmland in England of more than 50 acres. Sales where the residential value is greater than 50 per cent of the total are not included.