farmland market review - oct to dec 2011

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Review of the English farmland market


  • Review of the English farmland market

    This review is based on ourdatabase of all publicly

    marketed farmland over 50 acres, collated by our research

    team, and commentary on regional markets from our

    farm agency team


    Our regional valuers would be pleased to give your more information about the land market in your region or county. Please do not hesitate to contact them:

    North East Iain Welsh, Darlington Office 01325

    North West Simon Waller, Preston Office 01772

    Yorkshire and Humber Sam Tydeman, York Office 01904

    West Midlands Harry St John, Oxford Office 01865

    East Midlands Giles Wordsworth, Oxford Office 01865

    East of England Bennett Swayne, Newmarket Office 01638

    South East David Slack, Maidstone Office 01732

    South West Simon Derby, Taunton Office 01823

    If you have any questions about the review, please contactDr Jason Beedell, Head of Research, on 01733 866562 or

    October December 2011

    The key points are:

    Values for equipped farms and bare land continued to rise, so they have now risen continuously since the summer of 2009

    2011 was the first year more than 100,000 acres of equipped land was for sale since 2008 but it was still not enough to meet demand

    English farmland values climb 14% in 2011

  • Farmland Market 2Q2011 Flyer:Layout 1 29/09/2011 15:26 Page 3

    Low supply continues to drive up prices

    Although the amount of land for sale remains at historically low levels, there were more equipped farms for sale in 2011 than in 2010 and 2009, and more units for sale in the final quarter of 2011 as well.

    2011 was the first time more than 100,000 acres of equipped land was for sale since 2008.

    There were the fewest bare land sales in 4Q2011 for four years but, for the year as a whole, a similar amount of land was marketed in 2011 as in 2010 and more than in 2009 and 2008.

    Land for sale in England (acres)

    But despite this increase in supply, the lack of availability can be seen when the figures for specific farm types in specific areas are looked at:

    The market fundamentals that are driving prices up have not changed the amount of land to buy is still very small and demand from farmers, in most places, remains strong.

    Land for sale in England





    4Q2010(% change in

    last 12 months)


    Bare land 2,800 8,700 23,400 2,200(+28%)


    Equipped farms

    10,400 33,000 104,000 7,700(+35%)


    All land 13,200 41,700 127,300 9,900(+33%)


    Land for sale in England in 2011Number of

    farms for sale

    Number of farms for saleover 250 acres

    Dairy farms in North West and North East England

    7 1

    Arable farms in the South East 19 5

    Livestock farms in the West Midlands

    22 1

    All types of farm over 1,000 acres

    14 n/a

    North West Simon WallerThere is limited availability of good quality land for sale. Good stock prices are helping to maintain grassland values whilst large blocks of arable land are still proving an attractive proposition despite the drop in cereal prices. The market for equine units has slowed but this may be a reflection of the time of year. We have sold significant blocks of land to sitting agricultural tenants over the last quarter, and forestry and land to extend gardens is in strong demand.

    2011 2010 2009 Bare arable (/ac) 6,000 6,000 5,500 Bare pasture (/ac) 5,500 5,500 5,000 Equipped (/ac) 6,500 6,000 6,000 No. of farms for sale 12 8 9 Total area for sale (ac) 1,500 800 1,100

    South West Simon DerbyThe 4th quarter has been quieter in the South West although it continues to be the most active region for land sales. Demand continues to be strong from farmers for better arable land and there is still good non-farmer demand from people moving into the region. Good livestock farms - in the right place and with the right equipment - continue to sell well. An interesting opportunity for investors is 397 acres of strategic land on the edge of Plymouth.

    2011 2010 2009 Bare arable (/ac) 7,500 5,300 5,100 Bare pasture (/ac) 5,600 5,400 4,900 Equipped (/ac) 9,600 6,300 5,800 No. of farms for sale 16 22 17 Total area for sale (ac) 3,800 2,700 2,500

    West Midlands Ed de LislePrices have remained unchanged since the last quarter. There is still demand for land but buyers are definitely more selective and want to ensure that all of their requirements from the property are being met. Two current sales are noteworthy: Middle Hill Farm, an equestrian farm in Gloucestershire, has generated a lot of interest from a broad range of purchasers looking for alternative investments or a residential farm with equestrian opportunities. In Wiltshire, Cowick Farm is a working farm which is attracting interest from investors wanting to get into farming.

    2011 2010 2009 Bare arable (/ac) 7,000 6,500 5,750 Bare pasture (/ac) 5,100 5,000 4,750 Equipped (/ac) 9,100 9,000 7,000 No. of farms for sale 6 2 9 Total area for sale (ac) 1,100 200 1,600

    Yorkshire and Humber Sam TydemanThere is still demand for good blocks of arable land but we are seeing a reduction in demand for smaller amenity or lifestyle parcels of land in some areas. We have recently concluded the sale of a 200 acre block of grade 3 land near York which saw strong demand from farming buyers; an offer has been accepted significantly over the guide price of 950,000. A 116 acre block of land in North Lincolnshire has attracted significant interest. In this more difficult market, more effort is needed to attract offers and even well established farming businesses are finding that banks are tightening their lending criteria.

    2011 2010 2009 Bare arable (/ac) 7,000 6,000 5,500 Bare pasture (/ac) 4,750 4,000 4,000 Equipped (/ac) 8,000 7,500 7,500 No. of farms for sale 11 5 8 Total area for sale (ac) 1,800 600 2,400

  • Farmland Market 2Q2011 Flyer:Layout 1 29/09/2011 15:26 Page 3

    Equipped farm values continue to grow faster than bare land

    Equipped land values rose by 2% in the final quarter and by 13% over 2011 as a whole. This impressive rise in values followed a 16% rise in 2010, so values have risen by a third since the recent low point in the summer of 2009.

    Bare land values have also risen, by 3% in the final quarter and by 12% in 2011 as a whole. Although bare land values rose slightly more slowly than equipped ones, their greater resilience in 2008 and 2009 means that bare values have risen by 50% since the start of 2008, making it one of the best performing assets during the recession.

    There is growing evidence of a two-tier market quality land in desirable farming locations continues to sell well but poorer land in less desirable locations is finding fewer buyers so lotting and the quality of marketing is becoming more important.

    30 Smiths Gore offices across the UK

    NB The regional bare and equipped values quoted are based on the opinions of our farm

    agents; the data for number of sales and acreage for sale are based on our database of all publicly marketed farmland over 50 acres.

    All data is for 4Q.

    Average price in England



    (% change since




    (% change in year)


    (% change inlast 12 months)


    (% change in year)

    Bare land 6,000(+3%)

    5,800 12% 5,400(+12%)


    Equipped farms


    9,200 13% 8,300(+13%)


    All land 8,700(+3%)

    8,400 14% 7,600(+14%)


    East Midlands Luke HumphriesWith such a limited market in the final quarter it is hard to demonstrate any significant changes in the land market but we dont feel that prices have changed. Demand appears to remain strong but is more selective so poorer land or land which has any complications is becoming harder to sell.

    2011 2010 2009 Bare arable (/ac) 7,300 7,000 5,750 Bare pasture (/ac) 5,000 5,900 4,750 Equipped (/ac) 9,500 9,000 7,000 No. of farms for sale 8 11 6 Total area for sale (ac) 1,900 2,000 700

    East of England Bennett SwayneThe rate of price increases has slowed down. Buyers are still looking to invest but are not always satisfied by the supply of land and farms on the market, which is thin. There are some very strong prices being paid where there is competition amongst neighbours or the quality is exceptionally good but some blocks are sticking. Big blocks of land continue to sell well, however smaller and marginal areas of land are becoming a more specialist market with a smaller range of buyers. The on-going drought conditions in the region could lower demand for irrigated land and affect prices.

    2011 2010 2009 Bare arable (/ac) 7,000 6,000 5,000 Bare pasture (/ac) 4,250 3,000 3,000 Equipped (/ac) 7,700 7,000 7,000 No. of farms for sale 5 7 7 Total area for sale (ac) 900 1,100 700

    North East Iain WelshThere is still a shortage of supply with some large differences in values across the region so in-depth local knowledge is essential. There is clear evidence of a two tier market: quality land in desirable farming locations is selling well and under competition; poorer land in less desirable locations is price sensitive and is taking much longer to sell. We recently had a very successful auction selling 20 acres of arable land between Darlington and Barna