The uncertainty which the agricultural industry finds itself in following the non-event which was the 29th March 2019 has continued to stifle the supply of farmland coming to the market. The uncertainty which followed the 29th March, is showing from both farming and non-farming buyers across the country.
The number of acres of land publicly advertised for sale nationally has continued its downward trend the result of which has been prices have firmed and despite the caution from many buyers transactions continue to be agreed across all regions.
The withdrawal of the UK from the EU is by no means straightforward and any deal which may or may not be agreed between the parties will have long running consequences on both sides. One would expect this to have a downward pressure on the farmland market for some time to come, however, recent sales evidence is showing that despite the political turmoil, sales continue to be agreed at strong prices across all sectors.
The market for prime lots of arable and meadow grassland in desirable locations continue to achieve strong interest with prices regularly in excess of £10,000 per acre and competitive bidding scenarios are frequent. For larger blocks of land the number of buyers is reduced due to affordability, however, this does not impact significantly on the prices achieved. The market to more marginal pasture land and poorer blocks of arable is reduced with prices often dictated by the level of neighbouring interest with local buyers being the predominant purchasers across the north of England.
The flow of money from recent development sales continue to underpin and stabilise the farmland market and we continue to see a consistent level of interest from non-farming investors confirming the confidence in the market from external buyers. This may alter following HMRC’s review of Inheritance Tax which is due out this summer, only time will tell.
With the above in mind land is continuing to sell well across the region with most properties achieving significant levels of interest and prices at or in excess of the guide. The level of transactions is undoubtedly lower than historic levels, however, taking account of some private transactions which continue to occur behind closed doors there continues to be a reasonable level of trade.
However, the level of supply will respond with any deal, or no deal for that matter, struck with the EU, it is anticipated that the supply of properties to the market, both to buy and to rent, will increase once some level of certainty has returned to the political landscape and an increase in supply is likely to force prices down, at least in the short-term. It may therefore be wise to consider bringing properties to the market sooner to take advantage of the stable market which we find ourselves in. Those looking to move in the coming years may find that holding cash in the bank may put them in good stead for taking advantage of future bargains rather than purchasers who are still requiring to sell assets to enable them to move.
In summary, the land market continues to see a reasonable level of transactions at prices which have remained firm for some time. Vendors considering selling in the coming years may benefit from early action while there is limited supply in the market.
For impartial property marketing advice across the Yorkshire Region please contact Andrew Hardcastle at Lister Haigh on 01423 860322.