NEW signs show that farms with land are witnessing a surge in demand.

Since easing, agricultural properties and plots are attracting significant interest from prospective buyers even at a higher rate than early 2020. Thomas Armstrong Director of H&H Land & Estates, explains that the current landscape for the North of England’s land and property market is looking positive.

“Despite the economic warnings of doom and gloom, there is strong evidence that plenty of activity is happening. Not only have our offices had an influx of new viewing requests, but we have also received several new instructions in recent weeks with plenty coming to market. Farming opportunities are being snapped up, with well-placed farms attracting a number of interested parties within days or weeks of being launched. In fact, one farm sale that fell through just prior to lock down, was put back on the market and sold within the week!

“Currently the market has not yet shown any negative impacts on price. In fact, many properties with sizeable acreage are achieving a sale price in excess of the guide, with numerous plots attracting competing offers now going to auction. This trend reflects a fresh interest in a rural way of life brought on by the corona pandemic, which has in turn picked-up the agricultural market across the Lake District, Cumbria, and County Durham.”

Encouragingly, this demand is being met, with lots of requests for market appraisals coming through across the region. This means that as the industry carefully manages a return to normal, purchasers driving the continued anticipated demand will not be short of choice when it comes to properties for sale.

This pursuit of farming plots with residential options is none more evident than in recent sales. In Newby Penrith, H&H Land & Estates sold a traditional barn set in an idyllic setting overlooking the Pennines. With 30 acres of land and planning permission, the farm reached an agreed sale price over the guided £395,000.

Mark Barrow, Associate Director & Head of Land Agency (South Lakes), explains these trends in the agricultural land market in more detail: “Due to lockdown, we have seen a change in our purchaser demographics. This period has been a time of reflection for everyone and has evidently focused peoples’ minds on what they really want from life. Geography is no longer a barrier with workers realising the potential of remote working. Now buyers from all over the UK are seeking properties in tranquil settings, with extensive grounds where they can keep their own pets or livestock. The slower pace of living in rural areas, and particularly in the North, means properties with access to local leisure pursuits like walking, cycling, and sailing are attracting a lot of attention.”

For now, opportunities will remain while confidence is strong, but the future may look different. Mark says that now is the right time for owners to start to prepare if they are keen to sell their agricultural or residential assets. “As borrowing rates remain extremely low at 0.1 percent, it has never been so cheap for buyers who want to take on a farming lifestyle. This creates new opportunities for investment in an agricultural sector that has played such a key role in sustaining Britain during the crisis.”