One property sector that continues to defy all expectations is the rural land market. In this respect we are referring to farmland for the growing of crops and keeping of livestock. There is also the smaller amenity land market which is targeted to horses, smallholders and leisure uses. Again this sector has continued to defy predictions and has been holding its value and, if anything, we have seen an increase in the demand for it.
Commercial farmland ranges from around 30 to 150 acres and is much in demand as this is the sort of area that can be incorporated into most existing farming systems. This means a spreading of costs, such as labour and maximisation of the machinery capacity. Most farms have excess capacity and therefore the additional land can be worked to gain extra profitability and efficiencies.
We have seen agricultural land prices of around £6,000 to £7,500 per acre. Existing buildings will add extra benefits and could hold long-term potential for alternative uses subject to highways and planning.
The pony paddock market is orientated around parcel sizes or 3 to 15 acres and will normally be in grass. The new owners with be non commercial and will be buying to enjoy the land and their hobbies on it. Whether is it as a smallholder or with equestrian interests, the land gives them the potential to develop facilities like stables and buildings. Again there will be planning aspects to consider.
We have seen prices for £8,000 to £15,000 per acre and beyond. Once again with the addition of stables or buildings this will add greater value.
Land, naturally, is site specific and there can be a wide variation in the final selling price. Land in areas with less demand, poor access or heavy and water logged soils is less valuable. All these factors will contribute to the value of the land. Equally when there are two neighbours completing or it is close to urban areas then demand can be far greater.
Limited opportunities for land acquisition
We have sold a number of small parcels of land and have been very satisfied that the acquisition allows people to further their business or amenity interests. The ownership of a small part of countryside can bring huge enjoyment. The great concern though is that there are only small numbers traded each year, say within a 15 mile radius of Market Harborough, I would suggest that there may only be 10 opportunities through the year.