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English farmland outperforms equities and other property assets

According to the latest Knight Frank Farmland Index the average price of farmland is now £5,803/acre, fractionally down from its peak whilst values are predicted to climb by almost 7% in 2011 as confidence returns to the market.

Andrew Shirley, head of rural land research at Knight Frank, said:

"The average value of English farmland rose by just over 13% last year, outperforming even prime London residential property and the recovering FTSE (see graph in attached PDF). This was a particularly strong performance given that there was virtually no price change in the second half of 2010 and reinforces farmland as one of the top performing assets of this century so far.

“There was a lot of uncertainty after the General Election as people slowly got used to coalition government, sat through an emergency budget and witnessed the harsh cuts of the comprehensive spending review. It was therefore hardly surprising that the farmland market remained flat, in fact it was rather encouraging that it managed to retain all of its value during this time.

“In the meantime commodity prices have continued to strengthen, with feed wheat approaching £200/t and oilseed rape hitting record contract highs. This should help push land values up in 2011 with demand increasing from both farmers and investors for the limited acreage of quality land for sale.”

Head of Farm Sales at Knight Frank, Tom Raynham, said:

“Farmland prices are being driven by lack of supply and lack of quality. When good quality farms come on to the market they sell well, whether that be lifestyle quality or quality of land. There are some good properties coming to the market in spring 2011 and due to the lack of supply these will hopefully provide some good activity at the beginning of the year to drive the market forward."

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