Monday, August 2, 2010

"Farmers beat investors to UK land - but at a price"

From Agrimoney:
Farmers are beating the growing number of agricultural investors to British farmland – but at a cost, with the price of prime crop farms soaring by nearly 6% in three months, Savills has said.
The number of new prospective farmland buyers registering with the property consultancy soared by 60% in the first half of the year, Savills said, noting evidence of particularly strong interest from investors outside agriculture.
Nearly half the would-be buyers had £2m-5m to spend.
However, farmers maintained their lead in winning auctions, accounting for 62% of completed transactions, Savills said, adding that interest from non-farm buyers was "not yet transferring into deals".
Market squeeze
Nonetheless, farmers' victory was coming at a price, with the value of top-quality arable land in England rising by 5.8% to £5,850 an acre in the April-to-June quarter. The average British crop plots sold for £4,950 an acre, a rise of 3.9% in the period, and faster than the 0.8% price growth recorded in the first three months of the year. 
The extent of the priece inflation reflected a decline in the availability of land for sale in many areas. The supply of English land looked set to fall below 100,000 acres, half historic levels,
Indeed, it would be the lowest figure for at least six years, when uncertainty over a subsidy rejig depressed volumes.
"Much of this rise [in prices] is explained by the high ratio of buyers to sellers," Savills said....MORE
Hmmm, more buyers than sellers.