Wales bucked the trend in the rest of the UK with a good supply of farms on the market in 2020
There was optimism for another strong year for the farmland market in Wales with more confidence in the market after the Brexit deal was agreed.
The Welsh market started 2020 very strongly after the general election, with a record number of farms looking to come to market in spring, according to Savills.
Daniel Rees, head of farm agency in Wales, said lockdowns delayed the launch of the farms until summer but pent up demand meant they attracted a lot of interest.
“Lifestyle-change buyers were the most active for smaller residential/amenity farms while farmer/commercial buyers were more cautious with their offers while trying to gauge the market in advance of Brexit,” he said.
But with the agreement between the UK and EU, commercial buyers confidence was boosted, which Mr Rees said was a positive sign for the year ahead.
“We have agreed a sale on a dairy/mixed farm in early February and have offers in on three other large farms that we have for sale.”
He added he was hopeful the supply of farms would be similar ‘if not better’ in 2021 now there was confidence in the market.
“This should encourage those sellers of the larger commercial farms and land to test the market. The buoyancy of the lifestyle change market is carrying on and so smaller farms and blocks of land should also still come to market.”
He added future agricultural policy for Wales was geared towards sustainable food production with the pandemic also increasing the profile and importance of UK food production.
In Scotland, 2020 trends were significantly shaping the way for 2021, according to George Hipwell, director at Davidson and Robertson, who predicted competitive markets for rural sales across the board.
He said the pandemic created a move to long-term working from home, leading to a huge increase in enquiries from ‘lifestyle’ buyers as employers become more flexible.
In the forestry market, Mr Hipwell said established forestry blocks were holding firm with planting land seeing values hit ‘as much as three times the equivalent agricultural use value’.
“Carbon sequestration and ecosystem services is another emerging market attracting new types of buyer, focussing on land for planting and areas low output land that has environmental potential,” he said.
In England, there had been record low supply in 2020 however interest from lifestyle buyers was high during the second half of the year.