Lifestyle Buyers continue to dominate the Farmland Market

Farming incomes might be in decline across England, but property specialists Strutt & Parker can report that the demand for farmland is still high - but now it's those looking to lead 'The Good Life' who are buying up the acres.

The majority of farms sold by the Firm so far this year - 60% - were bought by people not involved in farming. 10% were bought by investors and just 30% by farmers. This means that a considerable number of English acres have been snapped up by what could be described as 'lifestyle' buyers.

These buyers are looking for land for their horses, are home owners wanting to ensure privacy and tranquillity by buying land surrounding their properties, or are those re-locating from cities and larger towns and wanting space for their families or to establish smallholdings.

As Mark McAndrew, of the Firm's Estates & Farm Agency Department says, "This is a trend that has grown rapidly over the past decade or so, and it shows no signs of decreasing. Buyers from outside the farming community, who want to acquire land for lifestyle reasons, dominate the market in all parts of England.

"Prices are high and show no signs of tailing off, but price isn't necessarily the most important factor for lifestyle buyers. If the land is around their home, or could be used for their horses, or to nuture an interest in rare breeds, or conservation, lifestyle buyers are prepared to pay far more than the market price."

In 2006 there has been a large increase in the amount of land sold during the first quarter; over 20,000 acres of land sold in England. This is the highest level of land sold in the first quarter of the year for some six years proving unfounded the fears that The Single Payment Scheme would stall the farmland market.

Mr McAndrew concludes "The second quarter of 2006 is likely to see an even greater supply of land coming to the market. We predict that the strong demand shown in the results of the first quarter will ensure the market maintains its strength".

The Strutt & Parker Farmland Database records all sales of farmland, marketed nationally, over 100 acres, and their research shows that:

Approximately 20,462 acres were sold in England during the first quarter of 2006" point"This is an increase of approximately 79% on the first quarter of 2005" point="The average price was approximately £2,917, though values vary greatly across the country."

"Approximately 13,856 acres were put up for sale in England during the first quarter of 2006 Prices are holding up well and seem set to continue to do so"

Strutt and Parker, 12.04.2006

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