The latest research from Savills shows that the amount of farmland coming to the market in the first quarter of 2009 has plummeted across England and Wales, recording falls of 56% and 32% respectively, compared with the same period of 2008.
In England, fewer than 11,000 acres were offered for sale on the open market in the first three months of 2009, compared with almost 20,000 acres in the first quarter of 2008, when, it must be said, supply was undoubtedly boosted by the changes to the Capital Gains Tax regime that came into effect in April 2008. However, values fell only slightly, by a mere 1.4%, Savills say, following on from the softening in values seen in the second half of 2008.
By contrast, Scotland recorded a relative increase in supply of 48%, but from a low base, taking the total acreage offered to 3,700, with farmland values remaining unchanged compared with 2008. Scottish agents CKD Galbraith (0141–953 3070) are seeing a strong market for residential farms in the Glasgow and Stirlingshire areas; farms currently under offer include Stock O’Broom Farm, overlooking the Stirlingshire countryside, with offers over £795,000; Carselea Farm-house in Stirlingshire at offers over £500,000; and Crossbank Farmhouse, overlooking the Clyde Valley, under offer at £400,000.
The firm is also handling the sale of Auchenskeith Farm in North Ayrshire at offers over £1.25m. South of the border, the most significant farm sale of the year to date is that of the Wimbotsham estate at Downham Market, Norfolk where Knight Frank (020–7629 8171) are offering a diverse commercial, residential and agricultural holding with major development potential at a guide price of £9.5m for the whole.
The estate includes three farmhouses, seven cottages, 1,008 acres of arable land, grass and woodland with sporting potential, plus an additional 84 acres of land with planning consent for the creation of a 20,000-ton grain store, and barns with consent for conversion to two residential units.