Farmland prices more than treble within nine years

Farmland prices hit yet another record high during the first half of 2013 and have now more than trebled in less than a decade, according to the RICS Rural Land Market Survey H1 2013.

During the first six months of the year, the cost of farmland jumped to £7,440 per acre across the UK, hitting a record high for the eighth consecutive period. The cost of land is now more than three times that of the same period in 2004 when an acre cost just over £2,400.

The exponential growth in prices has apparently been driven by the on-going surge in demand from farmers and investors alike. Interest from potential buyers has now seen substantial rises since the end of 2008, and surveyors note that hikes in commodity prices are leading the charge to expand agricultural operations and investors increasingly are seeing land as an economic safe haven.

With bare farmland so sought after, the six months to June saw a slight increase on the amount coming onto the market. Around 14% more chartered surveyors reported rises rather than falls in supply, yet the sheer pace of growing demand still outstripped the amount available land.

Across Great Britain, land prices were highest in the North West while the cost per acre was lowest in Scotland. That said, prices north of the border still managed to reach record levels for the nation’s market.

Looking ahead, it seems that the market is far from finding its level. Respondents expect the trend of rapidly growing prices to continue over the coming year with a net balance of 46% more surveyors predicting further growth.

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