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English farmland prices still trending upwards, latest data shows

The amount of land for sale in England is comparable with 2010 figures. Between 01 July and 15 August, 17,200 acres of land were brought to market, compared with over 17,100 acres in the same period in 2010.

‘So far this year we have seen equipped farm values outperform bare land, a trend which continues in our latest data. Since 1 July, equipped values have increased 2% whilst bare land values have increased 1%, bringing growth over the year to 11% and 7% respectively,’ said Giles Wordsworth, head of farm agency at Smiths Gore.

The data also shows an increased supply in many regions. ‘Despite overall supply being consistent with this time last year, supply has increased in six out of eight English regions, including a 46% increase in the North West,’ explained Wordsworth.

However, the East Midlands suffered a drop in supply by 34% or 1,200 acres compared with 2010. ‘Looking back at the data, we can see that the East Midlands market was unusually active in 2010, and activity levels this year are comparable with 2009,’ said Jason Beedell, head of research at Smiths Gore.

Some farmers have marketed their land because they think that land prices are reaching their peak following last year's good harvest and subsequent prices. Farmers are also alert to the fact that there are plenty of willing buyers, according to the company.
Looking ahead the outlook is positive for sellers. ‘We do not think that prices have peaked yet. Our farmland model indicates value growth of 7% for both 2012 and 2013,’ said Wordsworth.

‘This growth is based on the continuing imbalance of demand and supply. There is still insufficient supply to satisfy the continuing strong demand from farmers and non farmers,’ he added.

Some 81 farms and parcels of land over 50 acres were marketed in the first half of the third quarter of the year. This is similar to the number marketed during this period last year and 29% more than during the equivalent period of 2009.

Some 59 equipped farms were marketed in the same period compared with 53 in the same period of 2010. In total 14,000 acres were marketed, 6% more than in 2010.

As far as bare land is concerned there were 22 parcels of bare land marketed compared with 29 in the same period of 2010. A total of 3,300 acres were marketed, 17% less than in 2010 but more than in 2009.

The data shows some regional variations. Compared with last year, more land was launched in six of the eight regions this year. The East Midlands experienced the largest reduction in land area coming to market, with just 2,300 acres launched between 01 July and 15 August, compared with 3,500 acres last year.