The number of large commercial farms coming to market remains low, but the total area offered by large farms has nearly doubled since 2012, according to research by Smiths Gore.
In England, 195 properties larger than 50 acres were launched between 1 January and 15 May 2014 but only 13 offered more than 500 acres, compared with 12 during the same period in 2013 and eight in 2012.
The UK’s biggest onshore wind farm public inquiry is now in the finishing straight at a hotel in Welshpool where Wales’ longest-ever planning hearing has been considering proposals for five onshore wind farms and a 132kV connection to the power grid in Powys, mid-Wales.
The Mid Wales (Powys) Conjoined Wind Farms Public Inquiry began last June. On 20 May the hearing started to consider final submissions before the year-long proceedings come to a close.
Sales of let farmland are the exception in Scotland. Most let farmland exchanges privately in off-market transactions and of those, the vast majority involve either the sitting tenant acquiring their farm from their landlord or vice versa, writes Bell Ingram director Mark Mitchell.
Of the let land sold in Scotland in any year, the majority are farms subject to secure agricultural tenancies where the basis of value is well established, but there are also a small number of sales of land occupied on limited duration tenancies (LDTs) and short limited duration tenancies (SLDTs).
Average incomes of Scottish farm businesses fell by 34% to £30,000 between 2011-12 and 2012-13, according to figures from Scotland’s chief statistician.
The Annual Investment Allowance will double to £500,000 from next month.
In a surprise move the Chancellor’s 2014 Budget offers businesses the chance to spend up to this limit on plant and equipment from April and claim 100% of the expenditure in the year it is incurred.
Land Registry is launching a new service called Property Alert aimed at anyone who thinks their property could be at risk of fraud.
Property fraud can happen in many ways. For example, fraudsters may attempt to acquire ownership of a property by using forged documents, or by impersonating the registered owner. The fraudsters may then raise money by mortgaging the property without the owner's knowledge before disappearing without making repayments, leaving the owner to deal with the consequences.
Farmers will be able to convert more agricultural buildings into houses, under changes to the planning rules, which have been confirmed.
Planning Minister Nick Boles said this would make "better use of redundant or under-used agricultural buildings" without building on the countryside.
Up to 450 sq m (4,850 sq ft) of buildings per farm could be turned into a maximum of three houses, he added.
Farmland prices hit yet another record high during the final six months of 2013, having jumped around 15% in the space of a year, says the RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey H2 2013.
During the second half of last year, the average cost of farmland rose to £7,754 per acre* across England and Wales, hitting a record high for the ninth consecutive period. The cost of land is now 14.3%higher than during the same period in 2012 when an acre cost, on average, just under £6,800.
The Co-operative has shocked the farming industry by announcing it is to pull out of agriculture and put its multimillion-pound farm business up for sale.
It has also sent a ripple of concern through farming circles over the potential impact that offloading an estimated 6,750ha (16,700 acres) of owned farmland will have on the land market.
Robin Savage, an equities analyst at Canaccord Genuity who has a “buy” recommendation on Rightmove shares, said he would not be concerned “unless Agents Mutual does somehow persuade agents to support it – because that will affect Rightmove and Zoopla’s revenues”.
He argued that the newcomer is dominated by a handful of Britain’s biggest companies and would have trouble attracting the thousands of very small agencies who make up the majority of the market. “The big agents could function without property portals, so this is really asking independent agents to cut off one of their main routes to market. It is a brave person who decides to switch off something that brings them the vast majority of their [client] instructions.”
Rightmove and Zoopla declined to comment.
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