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Farmland could exceed 20,000 pounds per acre by 2020

Land prices could reach almost 50,000 GBP per hectare (over 20,000 GBP/acre) by 2020, a leading property consultant has advised.

(Source: Farmers Guardian, 14 Jun 2013)

Speaking at Cereals 2013, James Brooke, partner at property consultancy firm Bidwells, claimed the rise in land prices will continue.

The firm believes the need to feed an increasing world population, which is expected to exceed nine billion by 2050, will continue to drive demand for land. Mr Brooke said: “There is no indicator as to why the current trajectory of land price travel should fall. I see no reason as to why £20,000 (per acre) should not be achievable.”

But while the inclination for farmers looking to expand would be to buy land before prices increase, Bidwells urged them to work within their budget and to be inventive when drawing up plans for future expansion. Mr Brooke said the need for land to adapt to produce different crops will be important in the ability to feed a growing population and the ability of land to withstand climate change would be a major factor in price going forward.

He said “There is a need for good quality land in good areas with good irrigation and drainage. We need to be able to grow crops which can adapt to climate change.” And as the UK provides a relatively stable market politically, Mr Brooke claimed it was attractive to buyers on a global scale. He said: “As long as we have a fairly benign tax regime, English farmland will be seen as attractive to investors.”

In the short term, the land market is being stretched by a lack of landowners wishing to sell.

Mr Brooke highlighted one possible reason for this was because land was seen as an attractive option for inheritance reasons, rather than a lump sum of cash, which was subject to Inheritance Tax.

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