The sale of Shere Woodlands, a 732 acre mixed commercial forest near Shere in the Surrey Hills, comes when there is strong demand for woodland from institutional investors and private buyers.
Matthew Sudlow, of Strutt & Parker’s estates and farms agency department, said: “Although motivation for buying is varied, the associated possible tax benefits of woodland ownership increases appeal among buyers. Specialist advice should always be sought but benefits include tax free income, roll over relief when considering capital gains tax and business property relief when it comes to inheritance tax.
“Commercially, increases in timber and firewood values over the past five years appeared to slow a little in 2015. The drop in oil prices may have meant that some biomass projects are being delayed and thus flattening demand a little. The firewood market has steadied a little due to a slight over supply and warmer weather conditions. These are only slight fluctuations though and the general trend is a positive one.
“Looking at the wider picture, smaller blocks of woodland coming to the market in the home counties and South East frequently attract premiums. Many commercial plantations from the 1960s and 70s are now being harvested which may mean that good quality timber stands dating from the 1980s will be in demand over the next year or so.”
Mr Sudlow said: “Buyers have varied reasons for investing in woodland but are often motivated by the associated tax benefits. The vendors, on the other hand, tend to be private individuals or family trusts wishing to release capital.”
Mr Sudlow added: “Shere doesn’t only offer a good investment: the area has silver screen connections as well. It has featured as the backdrop to a number of period dramas and blockbuster films including “The Holiday” starring Jude Law and Cameron Diaz.
“The nearby village of Shere itself has played host to a number of other films including ‘Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason’ where St James’s church features briefly in the wedding scene at the end, and ‘The Wedding Date’ starring Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney.”
Surrey Hills, Surrey
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