According to property experts Smiths Gore, farmland in Scotland performed well overall last year and values will continue to rise in 2013.
Smiths Gore, one of the UK's leading land, farm and estates agencies, compiled its research from all sales of publicly marketed farmland over 50 acres throughout the UK, and reports that in Scotland almost 35,000 acres were offered for sale in 2012, which is 19% more than the previous year and represents the most for sale in the last 5 years. Bare arable land values rose by 17% to £5,850 per acre and bare pasture land rose by 1% to £3,450 per acre, while the average price of equipped land remained unchanged at an average of £6,250 per acre..
John Coleman, Smiths Gore's head of Farm Agency in Scotland, says that the trend is likely to continue as land in Scotland is becoming increasingly attractive to buyers and investors from the rest of UK and Europe. He says:
"Factors which will affect prices include uncertainty about the Common Agriculture Policy reform as many farmers are waiting to see the detail before selling; tighter lending into agriculture; and bad harvests. But I predict that institutional investors, who have been active in England last year, will be looking more and more to Scotland, as opportunities in England are in short supply and the Scottish farm prices, which are up to 15% lower than England, are seen as good value. Demand for all types of farms in Scotland, especially for high quality larger arable farms (500+ acres) continues to outstrip supply, and this will slowly but surely push prices up."
Coleman says that the south of Scotland was the most active region last year, both in terms of numbers of sales and area for sale, but that other areas have been achieving record prices. He says:
"We have seen some exceptional prices being paid for farmland in East Lothian, Fife and Angus, of up to £10,000 per acre, which is very encouraging. But at the other end of the scale, unproductive land, falling residential values and the reduced development potential of farm buildings have affected many farms adversely."
Smiths Gore's published Scottish farmland market review will be available soon from Smiths Gore.