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South West Farms and Land Review 2020

Wed 20 January 2021

At the start of 2020 we could not have predicted or even imagined the type of year we have experienced. Despite Covid-19 and the background uncertainty for agricultural trading and relationships from 1st January 2021, the farms and land market in the South West has been short on supply and robust on price.

George Alder, Partner of Stags and Head of Farm Agency comments “The farms department across the South West has been extremely busy during 2020, utilizing methods of sale such as online property auctions, and we have seen a complete shift in the seasonality of marketing farms and land, which now, more than ever operates twelve months of the year. The department has completed on 16 farms and 68 land sales totalling £26 million in value”.

Notable sales conducted by Stags Farm Agency department last year include:

Walkers Farm, near Taunton which comprised a non-listed Georgian farmhouse, four holiday cottages, a range of farm buildings and 114 acres of arable pasture sold as a whole in excess of the guide price of £2 million.

The private off market sale of a well-equipped commercial dairy farm with robots, extensive livestock accommodation for up to 200 cows plus followers, and 200 acres in all was sold lock, stock and barrel.

Hackworthy Farm on the outskirts of Exeter sold by online auction after a six-week marketing period and exchanged and completed within 20 days of agreeing the sale. The farm comprised a 3-bedroom farmhouse with 73 acres and achieved £200,000 above the guide price.

Notable land sales – Land prices remained very varied across the South West although quality arable land still attracts a premium. Notable sales included land near Lapford which achieved £8,769 / acre; land in East Devon comprising two large parcels in excess of 25 acres both sold for in excess of £11,000 / acre, while 77 acres of pasture near Chulmleigh sold at £6,500 / acre.

George Alder analyses why we are seeing such demand for farms and land in the South West.

  • Fewer commercial farms coming to the market – There is greater competition for quality farms, particularly suitable for dairy, often achieving premium prices and sales agreed before coming to the open market.
  • Demand is not only for commercial farms - We have also seen the return of residential farm buyers taking advantage of the Stamp Duty holiday by selling their own residential property to upsize to a farm or smallholding in the South West.
  • Short supply of quality land - Many farmers are frustrated with the lack of opportunities and took advantage of any opportunity to expand when these parcels came to the market.
  • Land wanted for tree planting - We have also seen stronger demand for more marginal land by non-farming buyers seeking land for tree planting taking advantage of the new grants available for tree planting and future carbon off-setting.

When to go to market? Traditionally, the market for farms and land would be very seasonal with launches either in late spring, early summer or the autumn. This year we have seen strong change with farms and land coming to the market at all times of the year, for example, Swanstone Farm near Exbourne came to the market in early October and a sale was agreed mid-November. Cowley Farm in North Devon, came to the market in November and a sale was agreed in the same month, while 20 acres of land near Wellington came to the market in December and a sale was agreed at the end of the month. So, demand for farms and land continued despite everyone thinking about Christmas!

With the market for both farms and land remaining buoyant and greater long-term certainty on our agricultural policy and trading relationships, take advantage of our market knowledge if you are considering a sale now or in the future, and contact a member of Stags Farm Agency team on 01392 680059 or 01872 266724 for a free market appraisal.

Stags Farm Agency Department comprises a variegated team focussing solely on the sale of farms and land across the South West. We offer a complete service from fields to farms and from private sales to online auctions working closely with Stags On-Site Sales, Planning and Professional Services departments to offer the most up to date and informed expert advice tailored to suit your needs.

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