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Farmland market report
28 May 2024

2023 saw a continuation of strong competition for blocks of good farmland and, in particular, for larger complete farms. Unless there is a significant increase in supply of farms to the market, I do not expect this pattern to change in 2024.

The quantity of available farmland rose slightly in 2023 but still remains below historical level. With little pressure from the banks, it remains the instinct of many farmers and of their families to retain land if possible, even if responsibility for the day-to-day farming is given over to a contractor. The family can remain in the farmhouse and can enjoy the amenity of the farm. Diversification projects can be pursued. The taxation advantages of holding farmland have not been eroded. The status quo is appealing to many.

In the meantime, there is a continuous demand for farmland and for farms, both from those within the industry and from without. Landowners who have received a welcome windfall from development sales can quickly find themselves at the end of their 3-year rollover period, at which time sensitivity to the purchase price is dulled. Funds from outside agriculture, particularly for residential properties, is almost limitless.

Accordingly, we have seen that virtually all decent farmland achieved a minimum of around £10,000 per acre last year, but with local competition this price could be pushed to £12,000 per acre, £14,000 per acre or even higher on occasion.

For purchasers with many tens of millions of pounds to spend, of which there is no shortage, a residential farm of 1,000 acres or more is often the target. However, with only a couple of dozen such farms available every year, competition can be fierce.

As I write, the 2024 selling season is just beginning to get underway and we are beginning to see a few farms coming forward. At present, I see no sign that the supply will be much different to last year, and accordingly I would expect to see similar results. Smaller blocks of land will be subject to local competition, which can show a significant variation in prices dependent upon the appetite of the immediate neighbours. Larger blocks will attract interest from across the country, and the expectation is that prices will be in line with the prices which we have seen for the past few years.

At Robinson & Hall, we monitor all farmland sales across the region and larger sales further afield. We are happy to advise on all sales and purchases. Please contact David to discuss further.

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