Based in a county, nearly 80 per cent of which is classified as ‘rural’, we have years of experience in the legal issues affecting country property, land and agri-business.
We have now boosted our capability with the appointment of specialist rural affairs lawyer, Frank Smith – a nationally-recognised expert in agricultural, rural and equine matters.
Frank is working closely with lawyers in our commercial and private client departments to provide authoritative legal advice to farmers, landowners, those buying prime agricultural property, equestrian businesses and farming partnerships.
Frank handles a diverse portfolio, ranging from the recent purchase of several large areas of prime agricultural land for farming clients, with and without agricultural tenants, and acting in the sale and purchase of a number of fine country houses in the region.
Values of agricultural land continues to rise
While the residential market has been volatile in recent times, agricultural property has enjoyed a steady increase in price. The lack of supply and sheer demand means agricultural land values have soared.
By the end of 2011, land value in England had risen by 11 per cent on the previous year to an average price of almost £6,000 per acre.
Some sales have outstripped the average, with smaller plots of land valued at the £11,000 per acre mark. Sale of land in Herefordshire last summer hit a record high when an 83.81 acre block sold for £928,000 (£11,072 per acre). Even more remarkable was the sale of a 238-acre farm near Aylesbury, which sold for nearly £1m more than the £3.2m asking price.
Despite the general economic downturn, it seems that the lack of supply will continue to underpin rising values and lucrative sales of agricultural land. This is good news for owners wanting to sell, though based on land traded in the last five years, good quality agricultural land only comes onto the market sporadically. Still, fierce competiton is sure to send land values soaring still higher.