Rural land market insights report: Scottish Land & Estates statement

Press Release

Scottish Land & Estates has issued the following statement in response to the Rural Land Market Insights Report published by the Scottish Land Commission.

Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “The report acknowledges that the land market in Scotland is complex and there are multiple reasons for purchasing and using land. The reality is that a diversity of ownership exists and includes public, private and community interests.

“What is of paramount importance is that the best use is made of land for social, environmental and economic benefit. That includes, forestry, farming, renewable energy, housing, peatland restoration, tourism and leisure and these activities are happening all over Scotland.  It is unsurprising that potential buyers are responding to clear government signals to plant more trees and sequester more carbon as part of a global effort to tackle climate change. Long-term investment in forestry is attractive to landowners and farmers as there is less volatility compared with some markets for farming produce. However, as stated in the report, carbon is only the motivation for some buyers and it is clear that from this small sample of land sales that about half of buyers are acquiring estates and land for other reasons.

“The report itself says that the land market is shaped by high demand and low supply and it is unsurprising to see significant increases in transactions last year due to the pent up demand created by the pandemic in 2020. It is more useful to look at longer term trends in both the farm and  estate markets.

“As regards off-markets sales of farms and estates it is worth noting that this has been a feature of the market for some time and communities with an interest in acquiring land can register that interest.”

“Our members supported this research and welcome the production of data on the land market. The more reliable evidence we have the better. It is critical that any new policy or regulations are based on sound evidence rather than perception.”