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Is the fabric of the South West changing?

Thu 23 September 2021

Recently, there has been press coverage stating that the fabric of rural areas throughout the UK has been changing due to urban-based buyers purchasing farms and land for a rural lifestyle change.

Stags Farm Agency team decided to review the sales agreed over the last 12 months to consider whether there has been any substantial change in buyers.

With a renewed appreciation for the countryside, the last twelve months have been exceptionally busy, with a diverse range of individuals seeking rural property and their own slice of the West Country. So far this year, just over 50% of the farms Stags has sold have been to buyers out of area. The main drive for those looking has been for farms and smallholdings where they can diversify and establish new businesses or create a family home. A good example of this would be Wolversleigh Farm in Sidbury, which was sold by online auction in the middle of August. Achieving over 64 viewings, it sold to a buyer from London who was looking for a residential holding and family home; an opportunity to reconnect with the West Country having grown up in Somerset. Despite 53% of these viewers coming from out of area, there was still noticeably strong interest from local residential buyers and farmers.

The remaining 47% of farm buyers have been South West based farmers, investors or residential buyers.

For bare land, Agricultural/Farmer buyers remain keen on new land coming to the market, looking to either expand their current holdings or invest rollover funds. These types of buyers make up around 45% of the market. We are seeing agricultural buyers from all over due to restricted supply, making it difficult to acquire good investments. However, so far this year around 70% of land bought has been from locals acquiring it for farming and amenity appeal.

The past year has been a whirlwind for many agents throughout the UK, with a surge of interest as soon as new properties are launched to the market as a result of short supply. On the outset, many of these enquiries are from external buyers and those with pipeline dreams of relocating. However, our statistics are showing that those who are purchasing either have family connections to the South West or are local farmers and residential buyers seeking space for expansion or a new way of life - maintaining the beautiful fabric of the area. 

Stags Farm agency can be contacted on 01392 680059 or farms@stags.uk

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