New data from property consultancy Carter Jonas has revealed that a high volume of farmland stock is set to come to market over the coming months.
While severe weather conditions in the first quarter of 2018 had a damaging impact on activity, 6,000 acres of farmland are set to enter the market over the current and subsequent quarter, mostly consisting of smaller lots.
A slight dip in average land values in England and Wales was recorded in the first three months of 2018, falling by 0.6% to £8,917. This was reflective of market fluctuations and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations – with rural businesses in particular currently reliant on support payments from the EU. While there is uncertainty over the protracted negotiations, there is also uncertainty for rural firms over their future funding.
Farmland values remain at their highest in Southern and Central England, where demand for arable land is most marked. However, land in the North West has witnessed an average rise of £500 per acre, now making it some of the most expensive in the country.
Meanwhile, values dipped in the Eastern regions, reaching an average of £8,500 per acre, while prices in Wales, the South West and the Midlands have remained constant.
Despite the wider economic factors and uncertainty at play, the research found that the rural sector as a whole continues to show resilience, with demand for good quality, correctly priced land remaining robust across the UK.
"The volume of stock that is set to come to the market is encouraging, and welcome," Andrew Fallows, head of rural agency at Carter Jonas, said. "Across England and Wales, values continue to be polarised, with neighboruing pockets of land attracting significantly different levels of interest."
He added: “While farmland still offers strong, long term investment opportunities, thanks to the counter-cyclical nature of the market, the lack of certainty surrounding the lengthening of sector support is discouraging some businesses from confidently committing to rural assets in the short term, and has created a more cautious, discerning buyer, one willing to wait for the best value land.”