Land prices in the South West are so volatile the price can vary by as much as 50 per cent from one field to the next. That’s according to sector specialists at Bruton Knowles’ Gloucester office, who keep a watching brief on land values ready to advise developers and landowners across the region.
Matthew Peters from Bruton Knowles’ rural team said: “With so little coming on to the market it’s difficult to predict exactly what land will go for. While the latest RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey reports that headline demand is broadly stable, we are seeing tremendous regional fluctuations – with local hotspots returning strong prices.”
He added: “Deals we have done emphasise the huge variance in prices per acre in a given area. Rollover money and those who have been displaced due to large infrastructure projects such as HS2 have continued to underpin the market place.
“Those areas that do not have these attributes are finding that without very realistic pricing, sales have been extremely difficult and long drawn out affairs with inevitable price reductions.
“Farmer buyers are becoming more discerning and cautious unless everything is just right.”
He said people who had sold development land were always in the market, but people with land to sell might be lucky to get top price.
“As always, low quality, poorly located land won’t sell well as it has lower earning capacity.
“As an example, one block of land we sold made £13,000 per acre but the land next door only made £7,000 per acre because it didn’t adjoin the buyer’s farm. It was of a similar quality.
“Having said that some areas around Gloucester, Cheltenham and Swindon are going well and there are people with money in the marketplace.
“But within these areas there will also be spikes where you cannot sell for any money. All this means it’s very difficult to offer any kind of comparison.”
However, smaller parcels of land are still proving popular with lifestyle buyers or equestrian families.