Positive signs for farmland market despite lockdown, say rural property agents
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Despite the uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic there are some positive signs in Norfolk’s farmland market, said property agents.
Anne Barker, a land agent and partner at the Norwich office of Brown and Co, said while it is too early to predict the longer-term implications of the lockdown, the firm was seeing “good levels of activity”, with farms, land and rural property still being launched “into what feels like a resilient market”.
“Given that in 2019 we saw a very low supply of land coming to the market, we entered 2020 with pent-up demand,” she said.
“Those buyers remain keen to secure agricultural property and are actively looking at the relatively few offerings coming forward. We also anticipate interest from new investors who, in turbulent times in the financial markets, may look to invest in land, as was the case following the 2008 financial crisis.
“For property that was on the market, or with sales agreed, as we went into lockdown, our efforts have been on completing those transactions. Working remotely, we have remained well connected with clients, buyers and their solicitors to keep deals moving forward. For example, a residential farm near Thetford was put under offer in late March following strong competition, and the sale has recently completed.
“We continue to receive a steady stream of enquiries from those looking to buy farms, land and development opportunities. Against this backdrop, we are advising sellers to take advantage of the very low supply and to get their property on the market – particularly bare land and empty property such as barns for development.
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“Where there is a residential element to a sale, we have used virtual viewings to whet buyers’ appetites and, now that we can carry out viewings in person, we have put procedures in place to allow them to go ahead safely and within social distancing guidelines. This is enabling us to launch new property with confidence, into what feels like a resilient market.
“For the last few years, the market has been characterised by large variations in values and this is likely to remain, as quality and location continue to be major influences. However, with evermore competing demand for land, and food security and carbon capture being hot topics, we remain optimistic for the outlook in the land and farm market.”
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