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Non-farmers to play bigger role in farmland market

Following the Brexit vote, non-farming buyers are set to play a bigger role in the farmland market.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Non-farmers to play bigger role in farmland market

High net worth individuals will continue to see land as an attractive investment, with the value of farmland to them not directly related to its earning capacity, according to Strutt and Parker.


Farmland has often been seen as an attractive investment within uncertain economic times.


Strutt and Parker’s head of estate and farm agency Michael Fiddes said values were expected to continue to vary widely dependent on location.


Mr Fiddes said: "The average value of arable farmland in England in 2016 is £9,700/acre, but the lowest price paid is £7,250/acre and the highest more than double this at £14,750.


"Some of the difference is caused by land quality, but probably relates more to demand, which can be very localised.


"Competition between buyers can mean similar land can sell for very different prices, which makes market knowledge even more valuable than usual."


The vote to leave the EU has created uncertainty over the future of agricultural policy. While this could make buyers within farming reluctant to invest, the drop in sterling has improved the UK’s competitive position which could increase optimism within the industry.


Overseas buyers may also become more visible in the market, as they look to take advantage of the weaker pound, Mr Fiddes said.


The market has slowed in 2016, with less land coming forward than in the first half of 2015.


He added: "It is interesting that no deals have fallen through in the days since the vote and people are still bidding on land currently on the market.


"In the short-term, it is possible we could see a decline in the number of transactions and average prices may come under pressure.


"However, we do not foresee a sharp drop in prices, because there are other factors at play."


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