Strongest market for farmland since 2015

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Land agents are seeing the strongest farmland market since prices peaked in 2015, with most farms and estates launched this Spring going under offer for well above their guide prices.

Speaking at Cereals 2022, Matthew Sudlow, head of Estates & Farm Agency for Strutt & Parker, says the market for agricultural land has proved to be very lively over recent weeks, with competitive bidding seen for most properties.

“At least 90% of the farms we have marketed this year have attracted significant interest, multiple bids and often gone to a closing date for best and final offers. We are seeing prices being achieved for some properties that we would not have been believed 12 months ago,” he says.

Mr Sudlow says one of the factors driving demand is the wide mix of buyers in the marketplace. This includes farmers, lifestyle buyers, private investors and corporate companies.

“In times of economic uncertainty, such as we are seeing now, there tends to be a flight to land from investors because people see it as a tangible asset which is a haven for their capital. While it is perhaps too soon to say definitively that this is happening, the signs are pointing in that direction.”

Strutt & Parker research shows there has been sustained growth in agricultural land values in England over recent quarters and Mr Sudlow says the current buoyant market conditions point to this upwards trend continuing in Q2 and into Q3 2022.

Given the current strength of the market, his advice to anyone who is starting to think about a sale or retirement would be to act swiftly.

“We currently have a lot of disappointed underbidders who are still on the search for land. If you are thinking of selling in two or three years’ time, why would you risk hanging on when you could capitalise on the strongest market we have seen since 2015?”

Historic performance of arable land

Arable land values in England have jumped by more than a third on average over the past decade, with the highest rises being seen in the North of England.

Analysis of Strutt & Parker’s Farmland Database, which records the details of all farms, estates and blocks of publicly marketed farmland in England over 100 acres in size, shows that the average increase in England between 2011 and 2021 was 36%, but with parts of the North of England seeing much larger rises.

Region 2011 Price £/ac 2021 Price £/ac Change over 10 years
East Midlands 6,750 9,910 47%
East of England 7,380 9,290 26%
North East 5,640 8,880 57%
North West 5,140 9,480 84%
South East 7,310 9,470 30%
South West 6,740 9,790 45%
West Midlands 7,450 9,500 28%
Yorkshire and Humber 6,710 9,880 47%
England 6,990 9,490 36%

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About Author

Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is an avid follower of Stoke City.