South West farmland cost at record high
THE cost of farmland in the South West has reached an all-time high and prices are expected to continue to rise.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) published its half-yearly Rural Land Market Survey last week.
It states the cost of farmland jumped to £7,250 per acre between January and June this year, hitting a record high and just behind the national average of £7,441 per acre.
A continuing surge in demand, mainly from farmers keen to expand, has been blamed for soaring land prices.
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Fifty per cent more surveyors reported increases rather than decreases in demand in the first six months of 2013.
Gareth Rowe, an agricultural property valuer with Stags in Truro, said: "Here in the South West we are seeing continued demand, mainly from farmers, for good, well-located blocks of land close to the farming base of the purchaser.
"Good pasture and arable land is selling well at premium values, where local interest is strong. However, we are also seeing lower levels of interest, in some other blocks of poorer land, with lower levels of competition from amenity/investor purchasers in this market. This is leading to a growing variance in values and makes it important to know the local market."
Andrew Ranson, another land agent with Stags in Cornwall, said: "In addition, Stags is again seeing some increase in the demand for farms with a farmhouse. This is in line with the national picture, which shows surveyors' price expectations for residential farms has turned positive for the first time since the second half of 2010.
"This looks to be consistent with the positive noises being heard about the general residential market."
"An example of this is Axford Farm at Callington which Stags has very recently sold. This was a well-equipped, 215-acre dairy farm, with a four-bedroom bungalow and permission for a second dwelling. It has sold well to a farmer moving down from Worcestershire."