Agency Update: January - April 2012

    The mood is generally positive for the agricultural sector. Our research shows that the average value of grade 3 arable land across Great Britain rose by 6.5% during 2011, to £5,612 per acre.

    The first quarter of 2012 saw further growth, of 0.9% to £5,700 per acre for grade 3 arable land across Great Britain; in England, average values rose by 1%, to £6,050 per acre. It is early days for Scotland’s 2012 market, but so far supply is at its highest since 2000.

    The East Midlands saw the highest increase in values during the first quarter of this year, at 3.3%. The North of England and Wales also recorded higher than average increases of 2.9% and 2.8% respectively. The value of prime arable land increased by 8.9% in England, 5.5% in Scotland and 4.7% in Wales, with red-hot demand for commercial parcels. Our agents are regularly selling land for £7,000–£9,000 per acre, with £10,000 per acre being exceeded in some cases.

    Supply remains very limited, despite our figures showing that across Great Britain during the first quarter of 2012 the volume of publicly marketed farmland increased by 20% compared with the same quarter of 2011. In Scotland 5,214 acres of farmland were publicly marketed between January and April 2012, a 173% increase from the same period last year and the greatest supply in Scotland since 2000.

    In northern England supply rose by 109%, owing to the sale of extensive holdings by the UK Coal Group. In the South East and South West, supply rose by 12% and 3% respectively. But in the East it fell by -50%, and by -41% in the East Midlands; in Wales it decreased by -34%, to just over 450 acres.

    Of course, these figures are based on land offered for sale on the open market. But an increasing number of transactions are now being made privately, especially by sellers who are not under pressure to sell but who want to test the market at a significant price. This has been a noticeable trend over the past couple of years. Savills alone has put 7,000 acres under offer privately so far this year.

    Notable sales 2011–12

    • Morham Mains, East Lothian
      A 468-acre arable farm, offers over £3.5 million.
    • The Kingston Wood Manor Estate, Cambridgeshire
      A 738-acre residential, agricultural and sporting estate with a Grade II* Listed Manor House at its core, offered at a guide price of £8.5 million.
    • Bragborough Hall, Braunston, Northamptonshire
      The flagship sale of a 641-acre traditional estate with a fine Regency house, offered at a guide of £7 million.
    • The Brook Hall Estate, Sudbury, Essex
      One of the finest all-round commercial farms to come to the market for several years, this 1,441-acre estate was offered at a guide of excess £13 million for the whole.

    Savills has been involved in a number of very significant commercial farmland and estate deals in 2012.


    Key contacts

    Charles Dudgeon FRICS

    Charles Dudgeon FRICS

    Rural Sales

    Savills Edinburgh

    +44 (0) 131 247 3702

    +44 (0) 131 247 3702