As 2018 gets underway, Garry Best, MD of Best Property Services and head of the land division, reflects on the market in the past 12 months and looks at what to expect for 2018.
Top line data from one of NI’s largest land sales agents, shows there was a 20% drop in acreage of land sold in 2017 compared with 2016, with the sales value of the land rising by an average of 8% to £14k /acre (£13k during 2016). Good quality land value shows a rise of 11% per acre while poorer quality land value has dropped in value by 14% on 2016.
“These figures highlight the attitude from buyers intending to farm the land taking the view that the inputs are too costly to be applying to average to poor quality land,” explains Mr Best, of Best Property Services.
“Throughout the year we experienced growing demand for larger farm acreage from both active farmers and investor purchasers, seeking IHT relief.”
Two notable sales in the final quarter of 2017 included a Victorian Mansion with lands in Armagh and a Grade B Listed House in Co Down which fetched in excess of £3 million.
Dartan Hall (Co Armagh) an impressive Victorian Mansion, near Tyan in County Armagh is set on 115 acres and sold in November 2017 for £1.73M, following strong bidding from four potential buyers.
In County Down, Rostrevor House set on 29 acres on the edge of the village, was offered for sale at a guide price of £1.6m and included a Grade B Listed Residence (15,000sqft) within mature parkland.
The property has strong historical connections with USA and whilst there was American interest, a sale was negotiated in November to a local buyer who intends to restore the residence for private use.
Looking towards the smaller category of land holdings, two notable land sales during the year saw a per acre value achieved of £16k (for a 14.5 acres site in Hilltown area) and £16,250k (for a 8.5 acres outside Newry).
Farm land opportunities coming onto the market early in 2018 include a 120 acre farm at Lisnalee, four miles north west of Newry; 80 acres in the Loughgall area in Co Armagh and 19 acres in the Jerrettspass area.
Rural building sites have improved over the past 12 months from an average of £45,000 in 2016 to an average of £60,000 in 2017, although predominantly being acquired by eventual owner/occupiers as opposed to builders.
Meanwhile, development land opportunities continue to remain in short supply.
Early in 2017, three acres with planning consent in the Jonesborough area sold for just over £200,000/acre.
At the end of 2017, a prime site in one of Newry’s most popular residential areas, with planning consent for 14 units sold for just over £45,000/Unit – reflecting the short supply of this type of land.