Rural market sits tight ahead of Brexit

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Farmland prices remain relatively steady compared to a year earlier according to the RICS/RAU UK Rural Land Market Survey, H2 2017.

The transaction based measure of prices (including a residential component) rose fractionally in H2 2017. However at £10,260 per acre, prices are slightly down (2%) on a year ago. Meanwhile, bareland prices fell in H2 with the opinion based measure slipping a further 1.4% leaving it down 8% year on year. Moving forward, price expectations are slightly downbeat with 13% more respondents expecting to see land prices fall (rather than rise) in the twelve months ahead.

Again, sites including a residential element continue to fare better than commercial only.

The availability of farmland for sale continued to decline over the second half of last year with respondents returning the most negative reading (in net balance terms) since 2004. Both residential and commercial units saw supply decline in the latter part of 2017 with contributors citing Brexit as having an impact. The issue of Brexit and its effect on the rural land market has been highlighted by respondents in every survey since the referendum. Looking ahead over 2018, 32% of respondents felt the ongoing Brexit process would result in less land being made available for purchase.

Individual farmers continue to drive interest in rural land (60% of purchases).