A leading Midlands-based firm of auctioneers, estate agents and valuers has reported a record year for farm and agricultural land sales.
Sales valued in excess of £25million were completed by Halls and the Shrewsbury-based company is predicting demand for farm and agricultural land prices will continue in 2009.
Twelve farms totalling 1,462 acres were sold for £12million and 57 separate blocks of agricultural land amounting to 2,439 acres totalled £13.15million. In addition, Halls handled 20 separate transactions for pony paddocks.
Prices peaked at £2.63million for Onston Farm, a 318-acre mixed arable enterprise at Tetchill, Ellesmere, Shropshire, which sold by public auction in March, during which month Halls completed £10million of farm and land sales.
Arable land consistently sold for between £5,000 to £6,000 an acre, while pony paddocks of between one and 16 acres achieved from £8,000 to £15,000 an acre in Shropshire and up to £16,000 an acre in Worcestershire.
“We have had a record year of farm and land sales in terms of volume and prices,” said Halls’ chairman Peter Willcock.
“We still have a considerable number of people on our books who are looking to purchase either farms or land in 2009.
“Farmers are feeling more confident because livestock prices have improved this autumn and they have had some fantastic crop yields, which have compensated for lower grain prices. With bank interest rates for borrowing being so low, farmers are keen to buy more land.
“At the start of the year, many people were anxious to sell agricultural property to take advantage of the tax regime before the capital gains tax laws changed. Lack of confidence in financial markets has driven people to invest their money in land, which offers a higher degree of security.”
It was ironic that agriculture, which had gone through a recession when the rest of the UK’s economy was booming, now looked to be in a stronger position while other sectors were struggling.
“The weak pound makes our meat exports more attractive and we are guardedly optimistic about prospects for agriculture during 2009.”