According to Savills Rural Research, 168,000 acres of farmland were offered for sale across Britain in the first nine months of 2008 — an increase of 6% on the 158,000 acres offered in the same period of 2007.
The greatest increases in supply were in the East of England (26,500 acres: +59%) and Wales (11,200 acres: +52%), but in Scotland, supply fell by 12% to 31,800 acres.
Averages values increased by 27% throughout Britain in the first three quarters of 2008, adding to the 29% growth recorded in 2007, Savills say. However, the proportion of farmers involved in deals handled by the firm during the period in question fell from 53% in 2007 to 43% in 2008, as profitability was hit by increased costs, falling commodity prices and a poor harvest.
Still, despite its problems, the market for farmland is unlikely to suffer the price falls seen in other sectors of the property market, as banks continue to see land as one of the safest assets to lend against. And although buyers have undoubtedly become more cautious, most still cite investment, residential and sporting appeal as com- pelling reasons to purchase.
David Hebditch of Humberts Rural in Taunton (01823 331234) is offering an intriguing portfolio of agricultural properties with sporting appeal on the edge of the Cambrian Mountains in peaceful mid-Wales, as a whole or in four lots.
The properties near Tregaron and at Lland- dewi Brefi (of Little Britain fame) include Fforest Farm, a 133-acre lowland stock farm with shooting rights, fishing on the Teifi, duck-flighting, hunting with the Gogerddan and Llanwen Farmers’ hunt and the potential to build a new house, at £450,000; Bryn Brawd, a 1,212-acre hill farm with 4,000 Welsh mountain sheep, a diverse bird population including red and black grouse, a wide range of agri-environmental grant funding capable of gene-rating £60,000–£70,000 a year before farm and single payment receipts, at £1.75 million; Bron Byrfe, an unmodernised three-bedroom stone farmhouse with a range of buildings and 5.81 acres within Bryn Brawd, at £250,000; and a terrace of four two-bedroom cottages in the centre of Llanddewi Brefi village (each let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy at £100 per week), at £480,000.