Spring Property Review | South East Farmer

Spring Property Review

Features Posted 26/04/22
Farms under 250 acres made up over three quarters of those publicly put up for sale in the South East of England last year, according to the latest figures.

The research has been compiled by Savills and agents say it reflects the “race for space” which has been seen since the pandemic.

According to the figures, 82% of the farms publicly marketed last year in the South East were between 50 and 250 acres, with 13% 250 to 499 acres, 4% 500 to 999 acres and just 1% more than 1,000 acres.

Chris Spofforth, who leads the rural agency team for Savills in the South East of England, said: “A product of various lockdowns has been the well-reported ‘race for space’ by urban buyers seeking rural living or indeed a complete change of lifestyle – meaning that the desire for smaller farms and land holdings has grown. “Over the past couple of years, we’ve sold a number of farms for this purpose, as well as blocks of unequipped bare land. Through our network of offices across London and the South East, we regularly come across purchasers looking to relocate to Kent and Sussex, with buyers coming from all over the country and abroad. “Some of this demand has come from those looking for property to accommodate tourism and leisure businesses – such as wedding venues and glamping pods – or rural enterprises where value can be added. For example, we have seen businesses as wide ranging as ice-cream production, cider making and online flower delivery spring up. There are also farmers in the market for small units where they can diversify, as well as new urban buyers keen to re-employ their business and marketing skills within a rural setting.”

Nationally, of the farms which came to the open market last year, Savills Research found that 75% were holdings of 50 to 250 acres, in essence 517 ‘small’ farms. Meanwhile, 44% of marketed holdings were 50 to 100 acres in size.

Chris added: “It is easy to get distracted by headline-grabbing deals involving large farms and estates of 1,000 acres or more. But these are not the norm. Indeed in Great Britain, year after year, the sale of holdings sized 50-250 acres far outnumbers larger farm sales.

“Our Farmland Value Survey reveals the strength of demand for farmland holdings of all sizes, with an increasingly diverse range of buyers competing in a scarce market. This supply/demand imbalance saw average GB farmland values rise by 6.2% to £7,180 per acre last year, the strongest annual growth since 2014, with poorer and average quality livestock land leading the way with price growth of 8.8 % and 8.7% respectively in the year to December 2021.

“Given the increasingly diversified nature of demand, we now regularly lot larger properties to create smaller farms which we can promote to a targeted and distinct group of buyers. Indeed when it comes to selling your farm, size does matter and small is often mighty.”

To discuss your property needs, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.

Publicly marketed farmland by size in the
South East of England 2011-2021

Year 

Under 250 acres 

250-499 acres

500-999 acres 

1,000 + acres

2011

83%

13%

2%

1%

2012

80%

12%

8%

0%

2013

83%

12%

3%

3%

2014

85%

9%

4%

3%

2015

77%

17%

3%

3%

2016

80%

11%

5%

4%

2017 

84%

13%

3%

0%

2018 

85%

11%

3%

1%

2019 

83%

13%

5%

0%

2020

88%

10%

1%

1%

2021

82%

13%

4%

1%

Source: Savills Research

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