Farmland for sale falls by a massive 67% – as prices rise
The value of farmland in the South West continues to rise, as the amount coming onto the market goes on falling.
In the first nine months of this year the price of prime land in the region rose by 2% to £7,600 an acre – according to data collected for the farmland value survey run by estate agents Savills.
Penny Dart, of Savills' Exeter office, explained: "Across the South West during the first three-quarters of 2013 the volume of farmland publicly marketed decreased by 4% when compared to the same period in 2012.
"The South West accounted for 18% of all farmland marketed in England. In the region 15,081 acres of farmland was publicly marketed, compared with 15,745 acres to the end of September in 2012, a decrease of 4%."
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Mrs Dart said Somerset recorded the steepest fall in the amount of farmland coming onto the market, a massive 67% down on the year to just 1,492 acres. Devon also recorded a significant drop of 30%, while in Cornwall the drop was just 4%.
It was a different picture elsewhere in the South West region, with Gloucestershire almost doubling the amount of land marketed, with an enormous increase of 84% in Dorset and 37% in Wiltshire.
But Devon still accounted for nearly a fifth of all the farmland marketed in the region. Wiltshire, with its extensive grain-growing acreage, accounted for nearly a third.
Mrs Dart explained that an analysis of the farm transactions carried out by Savills throughout Great Britain in the first half of this year showed that farmer buyers made up half of all purchasers. This was similar to the situation in 2012.
"Farm expansion continued to be the prime motive for buying, and was cited by the majority of farmer buyers," she said.
But the proportion of lifestyle buyers rose very considerably, to 40%, the highest level since 2004. She said their primary motive was not income generation from farming. "Of these buyers there was an almost equal split between those who already owned farmland and those who were purchasing for the first time.
"Buying for residential or sporting reasons was also a significant motive."
While the average value of prime land was now £7,600, third-grade arable land now averaged £6,150 an acre.
The average value of prime dairy land had risen by nearly 2% to £6,690, while third-grade dairy land was £5,760. Poor livestock grazing was £4,600 an acre.