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Farmland values in the East of England have continued to see year on year growth and remain ahead of the national average, according to... Eastern region farmland values outpace national average

• Highest prices of any UK region

• Prime arable values up by 4.2%

• Big increase in farmland for sale

Farmland values in the East of England have continued to see year on year growth and remain ahead of the national average, according to latest research.

The half year farmland price index from Savills shows that at the end of June this year ‘all types’ of farmland in East Anglia – pasture and arable – traded at an average of £8,641 an acre, the highest of any region in the UK. 

The figure was a 2.7% increase on June 2021 – and well ahead of the national average of £7,366 an acre. Prime arable land values in the east of England increased by 4.2% – up from £9,113 to £9,495 per in the year to 30 June 2022. 

This is the third highest value of any region, with the south (£9,829 an acre) and south west (£9,611 an acre) topping the list. Nationally, the value of prime arable land sits at an average of £9,424 an acre, a rise of 2.8 per cent year on year.

The East of England has also seen more farmland publicly marketed in the last 12 months than anywhere else in the UK – rising 138% from 6,528 acres on the open market in June 2021 to 15,542 acres on the open market in June 2022.

North and south

In comparison, the north of England saw 18% more farmland (15,183 acres) openly marketed compared to June 2021. In Great Britain as a whole, 70,700 acres were marketed during 2022 to the end June – 7% more than the same period last year.

Oliver Carr, of the Savills rural team in Cambridge, said demand remained driven by purchases looking for high quality commercial units alongside corporate investors and environmentally focused buyers who want land suitable for ecological schemes.

“A key feature so far this year has been the range and scale of property types available, which has come about because a growing number of farmers who were thinking of leaving the industry are now taking advantage of the strong market conditions.”

“There is also a wide spread of potential buyers. Some have no past exposure to the agricultural sector and are attracted by the relatively safe investment opportunities presented by farmland at a time of considerable economic uncertainty.”

Other regions

Nationally, 21% of farmland advertised during the first half of 2022 was for farms over 1,000 acres, with the 10-year average running at 11% of all farmland advertised. The largest units – both over 4,000 acres – were in Cambridgeshire and East Yorkshire.

In other English regions, supply remains constrained and often sales that have come forward are because of retirements which have been accelerated due to the huge impact on the cost of and risk of production caused by the Ukraine crisis.

Mr Carr said buyers remained keen to acquire additional acres or to relocate to more productive land. “Demand for smaller farms is also at unprecedented levels, with a growing pool of buyers frustrated by the lack of opportunities.” 

“There was evidence of keen investor appetite for large holdings launched to the market earlier this year, suggesting upbeat market sentiment for commercial agriculture – notwithstanding the Ukraine crisis and the environmental narrative of recent years.”