Coronavirus: Could plunging stock markets tempt investors to buy farmland?

Falling stock markets could tempt investors to buy farmland, says Savills Norwich. Picture: Mike Pag

Falling stock markets could tempt investors to buy farmland, says Savills Norwich. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Mike Page

The economic impact of coronavirus has put farmland sales “on hold” – although rural agents believe plunging stock markets could encourage investors to take interest in farm estates.

Christopher Miles, who leads the rural agency team at Savills in Norwich, said: “Until the last few weeks sellers we have been talking to have been ready to commit to the market, with the confidence that the prospect of greater activity brings. Similarly, many buyers have been frustrated by the lack of stock to consider and have been excited about the prospect of having some new farms and estates to see at last. Unsurprisingly, all that seems to be on hold, at least for the time being.

“The dramatic fall in the stock market may encourage some of those with cash funds to invest in land and property so we may see investors entering the land market again and competing for farmland. You only have to look back to the global financial crisis to be reminded of how land has been viewed as an attractive, long term defensive investment class.

READ MORE: Subscribe to our daily coronavirus newsletter, with all the latest from where you liveMr Miles said the recent wet weather has delayed many property launches until at least mid-May but, as things stand, the firm is continuing to prepare farms earmarked to come to the market for sale. He said when the current movement restrictions change it will be “perfectly possible” to carry out viewings within social distancing guidelines, either in separate vehicles with mobile phone commentary, or potentially through “virtual tours” using drone footage of dwellings and land assets.

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