Is there a right time to sell your farm? Should we be waiting until post Brexit?

16th October 2017

Following a very busy summer of farm sales and purchases throughout Yorkshire and the North East, we have had time to reflect on the market trends and the insight into those searching for the right farm or estate.  There have been some fantastic headline figures agreed on top wold land, but one or two farms still waiting for bids, perhaps overpriced in the first instance rather than land values dropping?

A primary point of discussion amongst professionals and clients is the impact of the Brexit deadline in 2019 and how this will affect the price of agricultural produce, farm support payments and ultimately farming incomes. There is a question as to whether this will put off potential purchasers and have a detrimental effect on value? At this stage, no-one can be certain and so some are considering whether to hold off and wait until post Brexit. For most farming businesses, we don’t think that is the right course of action.

Across the George F. White offices, we haven’t seen any lack of activity from buyers, if anything an increased amount, and have sold in excess of 4,000 acres both on and off the market. Interestingly we are seeing that private land sales are increasing; there is a real trend of those seeking to sell up quietly, agree a price off market without the hassle that can come with market sales and provide certainty.

I certainly have found this year that the purchasers have shown very little concern about post 2019 and we’ve had a large number of investors particularly looking at the North.  Yes there have been post Brexit discussions, but that is not the driving factor; mostly buyers are more concerned over location, Blackgrass or the ability to derive other streams of income from the estate.

We have also noticed for the last 18 months farms and rural properties have been selling all year round. I can remember the days of never try and sell your farm during the winter months, wait until the Spring to launch it to the market when the grass, crops and hedges are green, flowers are blossoming and the lambs are bouncing round in the fields. This Spring flurry can cause a perceived over supply and may make it more difficult to sell and there is no reason not to sell all year round. We believe this will help even supply and create a better outcome. The message – is do it when suits you and not this perceived Spring rush.

If buyers are concerned about the potential effect of Brexit on grants, then they should be looking at farms/estates that have non-subsidised income streams as part of the portfolio. There have been examples of farms with energy income, more intensive agriculture (pigs/poultry) or tourism based businesses. If subsidies are your concern, we would recommend looking for land that is flexible and something that you can seek alternative income streams from.

To discuss the sale or purchase of land and farms in your area, call Matt Brown 07854 903631 or email matthewbrown@georgefwhite.co.uk.

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