HORSES HORSES EVERYWHERE
Why is there a demand for Equestrian land?
A national equestrian survey conducted by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) 2005/6 reported that there are over 1.35 million horses in the UK! Thus it can be seen that the pursuit of all things equestrian has reached an all time high.
This survey also estimated that 4.3 million people (7% of the UK population) are horse riders and 43 % have an interest in some aspect of Equestrianism.
Annually, horse owners and riders spend approximately £4 billion on horses and riding, over £400 million on buying horses and over £730 million on riding lessons taking place every year (source: http://www.bhs.org.uk/content/inf-Stats.asp)
Why will farmers supply this demand?
Rural land prices are at an historic high, and land which is deemed suitable for horses will always fetch a premium price. This is because whilst farmers are often loathe to sell off large chunks of their 'crown jewels' they may be persuaded to release small chunks at a premium. While other land buyers such as fellow farmers, investors or developers will mainly be looking for considerable acreage, the average horse owner will be looking for paddocks of approximately an acre or two per horse, and for the right location will be prepared to pay top prices.
Why is equestrian land more expensive?
This is simply the old adage 'supply and demand'. There is a limited supply of land which is suitable for equestrian land.
- Quality - good grazing is vital for the welfare of a horse.
- Access - a pony paddock needs to be easily accessible by road.
- Water supply - there needs to be a mains supply nearby.
- Local hacking/riding - quiet roads, bridleways and off-road hacking are a must for every rider's enjoyment and safety.
- Security -isolated paddocks can be vulnerable to theft, and unexpected illnesses or accidents can go unnoticed. A nearby neighbour or resident farmer will offer a sense of security.
Why is it a good time to buy Equestrian Land?
Figures released recently by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors show that farmland has increased by an average of 24% - the fastest pace ever recorded by the RICS' rural market survey.
The same figures indicate that the credit crunch is impacting on the lifestyle buyer, as RICS spokesperson, Julian Sayers said:
"Ever rising commodity prices have pushed the price of farmland to record highs as farmers and investors compete for arable land. However, the days of the lifestyle buyer are on the wane. The credit crunch is putting an end to city expansion into the country as the precarious financial situation has made city slickers re-think their lifestyle priorities." (source: www.rics.org)
However, there is no evidence that this has impacted on the equestrian buyer. In fact this can only be good news for those looking to invest in a pony paddock, livery yard or equestrian centre as there is less competition from the 'city slicker' looking to grab a slice of countryside for investment purposes.