Farmers planning to sell land in 2023 are being advised to use the winter months to prepare for a sale if they are to capitalise on the spring market.
Carter Jonas says the UK being in recession is driving interest in safe assets, and that farmland has traditionally performed well during times of economic uncertainty.
There is also evidence that well-prepared farms are out-performing those which have outstanding issues to resolve, as cash buyers look to move quickly to completion.
Arable and pasture land values have seen a 10-year annualised growth rate of 2.8% and 3.6% respectively, according to the property consultancy.
“Agriculture is a resilient industry, even in the face of considerable economic uncertainty, and land values reflect that,” says Andrew Chandler, Carter Jonas head of rural agency.
"The market is predicted to continue to benefit from an ever-expanding pool of motivated buyers, who are interested in a range of holdings from prime lifestyle land to unproductive blocks of marginal land for natural capital purposes.”
With recent rises in interest rates affecting some mortgage offers, Carter Jonas says those with cash available are in a position to move faster, and will favour properties which have been prepared for sale and are ready to go.
“If you’re not ready, your farm could potentially be out-performed by another property.” Mr Chandler says.
“Cash buyers do tend to bid higher on land and property they know is ready, but they won’t wait around.”
Although the market has quietened a little since the intense period experienced during the pandemic, demand is still outstripping supply.
Quality offerings, and those located in a number of hotspots across the UK, are seeing considerable interest regardless of the time of year.
There may be advantages for those farms which are first to market in 2023, according to Carter Jonas.
Mr Chandler adds: “Building in time for the legal process is also advisable – sellers can mitigate risk by engaging professionals well in advance and being ready to proceed quickly.”
"Creating a positive first impression is invaluable, so preparing your farm for sale well ahead of time is key.
"Smartening up your farm and carrying out minor cosmetic tasks can be achieved quickly and inexpensively but could make a huge difference to its overall appearance."
Potential planning opportunities should be explored as these can add significant value, and establishing potential Capital Gains Tax liability is essential.
“Consulting your accountant at an early stage is sensible, as is ensuring good lines of communication are established between your selling agent, solicitor and accountant prior to launching your property on the market,” Mr Chandler says.
“Ensure you engage a reputable and well-respected agent with experience in rural property and land management who will provide you with objective, balanced and unbiased advice.”