Strong appetite for both quality land and property
The rather late spring this year resulted in a much later selling season than usual for farms and farmland, with sellers waiting for the onset of the warm weather before instructing agents and marketing properties. However, once the sun came out the flurry of activity in the late spring ran right through the summer.
We are now seeing a number of excellent new properties coming to the market for the autumn.
Across the region, I am finding that both investors and commercial farmer buyers are more discerning than ever. Often they will have very refined requirements in terms of land type, acreage and locations. However, for the right opportunity top prices continue to be paid, particularly where this involves adding a block of land to an existing holding or where competitive bidding takes place between neighbouring farmers or investors.
There is considerable growth in the number of tax-driven investors looking for larger commercial opportunities from both bare land and fully-equipped farms. In addition, the high prices achieved for blocks of bare arable land make holdings of a house with land look like very good value, due to the continuing subdued prices for residential property. This value is particularly attractive to prospective investors, given the level of rents for fully equipped holdings, especially if the landlord is prepared to give a longer term of tenancy.
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Instructions which we at Savills are bringing to market this autumn show the best of the diversity the region has to offer.
Penhallow Farm, for example, is an extensive and productive commercial and residential farm of about 570 acres on the renowned Roseland Peninsula south of Truro in Cornwall.
Aside from its spectacular setting, Penhallow offers a fantastic farming opportunity. It also has potential for additional income streams from letting the existing and proposed dwellings and fully justifies its guide price of £5.5 million.
Meanwhile on a smaller scale, Greylands Farm near Holsworthy is a residential and stock farm extending to more than 170 acres. It generates a considerable income from additional revenue streams alongside the traditional farm income. These include a holiday cottage letting business and 80kw wind turbine. For the commercial livestock farmer, the farm represents a great opportunity and is available as a whole or in lots with a guide of £1.65 million for the main.
When it comes to bare land sales a highlight for me this autumn will be our marketing of a single enclosure of 35 acres of Grade 1 arable land in the Culm Valley, just north of Exeter. Sales of such quality land in the Westcountry are something of a rarity and keen competition is anticipated between commercial farming buyers and investors. The Culm and Exe valleys are some of the most fertile land Devon has to offer. It will be fascinating to see where the market goes against a guide price of £350,000.
Farmland continues to be a safe asset and a serious investment choice thanks to its excellent track record both over the long term and in recent years.