Livestock farms have been left behind by a "burst of
activity" in the English farmland market which, in clearing a backlog of unsold
properties, has fuelled some revival in values of arable operations.
Strutt & Parker reported a "flurry" of deals since
Christmas, which has reduced a "significant carryover" of land left over from
2016, after a busy end to the year for farms coming to market.
Indeed, more than 40% of English farms put up for sale in
2016 were still unsold at the end of the year, "a far higher proportion than we
have seen before", the land agency said.
However, a "considerable amount of this has now gone under
offer", said Michael Fiddes, head of estates and farm agency for Strutt &
About 25% of land marketed in the first three months of 2017
"also looks to have found a buyer".
'Buyers are more
However, despite the "burst of activity", the agency also
flagged that "it is now taking longer to get sales to the point of completion".
"Buyers are being more cautious than they were when there
was greater competition in the marketplace," Mr Fiddes said.
Furthermore, some livestock farms, and those with a high
proportion of their value wrapped up in houses, were proving relatively tough
"Our analysis also shows that over half of the livestock and
residential farms put on the market last year are still available or have been
withdrawn, which is a higher proportion than for other types of farms," Mr
The comments come against the backdrop of a UK housing
market which Rics, the chartered surveyors' group, said in a much-watched
briefing last week "continues to lack impetus, with new buyer enquiries and
agreed sales stagnant".
However, Strutt & Parker, in cropland, flagged some
improvement in prices in the January-to-March period, as measured by sales values,
putting the average at £9,800 an acre.
That represents a £300-an-acre rise on the average price achieved
in the October-to-December period, although remains below the high of £10,700
an acre reached in the April-to-June quarter of 2015.
On prospects, the land agency said that while supplies of
land for sale may increase again, they were "unlikely to exceed those seen in
"This is likely to support prices, although undoubtedly a
wide range in values will continue to be achieved dependent on location," Mr
"Overall the market remains pretty resilient given the
uncertainties associated with Brexit."