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Demand from English buyers could reinvigorate Scottish land market

Demand from buyers south of the border could reinvigorate the Scottish land market, with the drive for house building in England encouraging people north.

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Demand from English buyers could reinvigorate Scottish land market

The Scottish farmland might be undersupplied this year, following an 11 per cent reduction of land on offer in 2017 year on year, according to Savills.

 

Despite this, Brexit uncertainty had led to a slight dip in land values, following the longest sustained period of growth in more than 100 years between 2000 and 2016.

 

However, Charles Dudgeon, head of UK rural agency for Savills, said demand from south of the border could reinvigorate the market.

 

“The southern counties of England were likely to see a far greater release of land for house building if Government targets were to be met and this could result in cash rich farmers heading north,” he said.

 

“There was already a considerable incentive to do so because prime arable prices were lower in Scotland by 19 per cent in 2017.”


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Evelyn Channing, director of Rural Agency Scotland for Savills, estimated 40 per cent of viewers of farms for sale in 2017 were English.

 

Tom Stewart-Moore, head of Scottish farm sales at Knight Frank, said English buyers had always played an important part in the Scottish market due to the value and scale of farms available.

 

However, this had fallen away over the last couple of years.

 

“The independence question has gone away, that has had an effect,” he added.

 

Mr Stewart-Moore added he had seen a buyer in northern England who had sold land for housing and was looking to sell the farm and move to Scotland.

 

“They own probably 300 acres and were going to be looking for a farm twice that size," he added.

 

There was also considerable interest in land suitable for forestry, but Savills urged caution. While land could be worth three times the agricultural value, this was only for plantable areas.

 

And forestry values were dependent on good road access and proximity to sawmills.

 

“There is no doubt, however, that demand for planting land is being driven by the soaring prices being paid for standing timber at the moment,” added Ms Channing.

CURRENCY was driving international interest in Scottish estates, with Savills research suggesting more than 60 per cent of buyers in 2017 were from overseas.

 

There has also been an increase in the number of estates marketed privately.

 

The weaker pound has made land 21 per cent cheaper in euro terms and 23 per cent cheaper in US dollar terms.

 

Figures from 2014 showed 100 per cent of estate purchases were by UK based buyers.

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