Political uncertainty and looming changes in agricultural policy are cited as the main reasons for a record low quantity of Scottish land launched on the market by farmers in the quarter to the end of September.
Only half the open market farmland in Scotland was available compared to the same period last year, while in England supply was down 40%, according to the latest statistics from land agents Savills.
However, the upside is that the combination of a limited quantity of available land and keen demand from buyers means Scottish values are up 0.5% on the year, slightly higher than the GB average gain of 0.3%.
Evelyn Channing, Savills’ Head of Farm Agency in Scotland, said there is strong competition for the best land and prices were above expectations, while the market for poorer land was less buoyant.
She added: “There are committed buyers in the market – many acting decisively and quickly and bidding ahead of closing dates. Lifestyle buyers are often in the mix for some of the smaller farms on the back of increased level of transaction numbers in the Scottish residential market, which is welcome news for sellers.”
The company’s UK farm agency head, Charles Dudgeon, predicted clarity more in the political and economic environment might bring more land to the market.
“There will always be a market for good-quality farmland from those looking to expand their acreage either through renting, contracting or purchasing,” he said. “Other land types are also attracting interest as attention is turned to filling environmental offsetting agendas. Demand for forestry planting land remains strong.”
Two new local parcels of land are being advertised this week. Bell Ingram are selling a block of land extending to 54.8 acres at Cowford, Brechin, and Bidwells is marketing arable land and buildings at Longforgan.