On the whole, demand continued to outstrip supply across our region over the spring and summer selling period, writes Richard Thomas, BTF Partnership.
This meant that when a landowner wished to find a buyer for his farm confidentially and off market, we were able to source bidders privately to the satisfaction of all parties. We have sold three significant residential and agricultural holdings in the Weald in the 75 to 175 acre range since the spring in this way and in addition, we have been fortunate to have our share of open market instructions this year. These instructions have included land at Cadborough Farm, near Rye extending to 314.53 acres of grade two and three arable land where solicitors are currently instructed and the sale of about 260 acres of arable and top fruit land at Selling near Canterbury.
Interestingly, most of the purchasers had rollover funds either from development or from the sale of another property where they were trading up or down. This buyer profile seems set to increase over the next 12 months or so, as planners release more and more greenfield sites across the region under pressure from central government to deliver housing numbers. Farm buyers are naturally cautious at the moment with lower than expected commodity prices and our figures indicate that City investors, while still interested at local level for agricultural property relief, sense that prices are flatlining and the opportunity for capital growth in the short term has reduced.
In the spring, we were favoured with instructions to act on behalf of the buyer of a significant residential and agricultural estate near Maidstone which concluded successfully in May. This was a time consuming but ultimately rewarding exercise which involved negotiating a mutually agreeable price and then liaising with solicitors during the due diligence process and also the agricultural tenants on the estate.
Notable instructions to take us into the winter period include the sale of Longbeech Wood at Challock for a private, local owner. Extending to 257.52 acres, this is an unusually large parcel of ring fenced woodland for the South East area and has a guide price of£750,000 subject to contract.
Also available is Monkshill Farm, Faversham. This is a ring fenced pasture farm with an extensive range of good quality and useable outbuildings including a farmhouse, former classroom, butchery, farm shop and offices extending to over 33,700 square feet with 59.55 acres of pasture and in total 66.23 acres with a guide price of £1.5 million.
Our Heathfield office also experienced a similar supply and demand imbalance this year for rural residential property. The third and fourth quarters have been particularly busy with most successful transactions concluding during this period. As a result of this demand, many of our clients benefited from having willing and able under bidders that were prepared to step into the breach had the chosen purchasers failed to complete the transaction.
Successful farm sales from our Heathfield office during the earlier part of the year included Scalands Farm near Robertsbridge. The 127.8 acre residential and grassland farm was offered to the market in four lots: however, most of the farm was ultimately sold as one. Smaller holdings and parcels of amenity land also sold well with an average price of £11,000 per acre being achieved for parcels of non residential amenity land of less than 20 acres.
Despite there being interesting instructions in the pipeline, it is expected that the demand from our database of purchasers will continue to increase in the coming months.