The ongoing lack of supply in the eastern farmland market is one of the key drivers of rising values. In East Anglia the level of publicly marketed land* in 2013 was a mere 11,000 acres, down 32% on 2012 and significantly below the 29,000 acres of 2008. However, these figures do not reflect the considerable private market that has emerged in recent years.
Average values rose by 22.2% to £9,200 per acre but the gap between the most and least sought-after land is getting ever bigger. The key market players continue to be farmers and outside investors. Predictions from Savills rural research team show continued growth of 40% over the next five years; however, the renewed allure of other investments, and in particular the residential and commercial markets, may mean that now is a good time to consider a sale.
Harvest for many was better than forecast with a mix of yields. For those who sold their crops early, prices were good but values have since fallen as a result of the revelation of global harvests. Whilst land is waterlogged after the winter storms, it remains too early to determine whether the 2014 harvest crop will be affected. It is also too early to anticipate the impact of the reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy that come into effect next year.
Renewable energy generation is a growth area. Our expertise in successful farm scale ground mounted solar PV schemes, supported by Savills planning division, has broadened to commercial rooftop schemes. There will be continued scope for major property owners and occupiers in this field.
*land over 50 acres marketed in the national press