Lifestyle purchasers return to the farm property sector in south west of England

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December 21, 2013 2:52 AM EST

The farms and land market in the south west of the UK has seen the return of the lifestyle buyer in 2013 with a number of rural properties seeing increasing interest, according to the latest sector report from Chesterton Humberts.

According to head of rural, David Hebditch, 2013 has been an interesting year in the market for farms and land. ‘As always we have sold a number of different properties across the south west, to a range of purchasers. With the spring being later than normal this year, we advised a number of vendors to hold off marketing until slightly later than we would normally. With more leaves on the trees and temperatures up by four to five degrees, this resulted in a later and perhaps more intense selling season, which we have seen run right through into the Autumn,’ he explained.

He said that generally, values of quality land and property have continued to grow across the South West during 2013. ‘Quality is the key, and although we are experiencing high levels of demand for all types of rural property, whether bare land, ring fenced farms, or traditional rural estates, most potential purchasers are increasingly sensitive to factors such as accessibility, rights of way, location and land versatility. Nevertheless, the year has seen a number of successful sales,’ said Hebditch.

‘As the months went on, it became clear that the lifestyle purchaser was returning to the market, with a number of farms luring cash from east to west; a trend we have certainly seen less of over the last four or so years,’ he added.

One of the firm’s earliest instructions this year was Melbury Bubb Manor between Yeovil and Dorchester. Comprising a small rural estate with a grade II listed manor house for refurbishment, a modern three bedroom cottage, buildings and about 150 acres, Melbury Bubb was offered for sale in six lots with a guide price of £2,250,000. Many viewings were conducted with a range of potential purchasers from outside of the area. A sale was agreed within a few months of it coming to the market.

Meanwhile, Conigar Farm, a 51 acre residential farm near Hemyock on the Devon/Somerset border sold earlier this year to a purchaser originally from the Home Counties, with a sale recently agreed by tender on the balance of the 20 or so acres of land. Further into Devon Underdown Farm at Yarcombe for sale with a guide price of £1.5 million comprising a ring fenced residential farm of 53 acres with period farmhouse, annexe/holiday let and a range of buildings, was sold toward the end of the summer to a London based purchaser.

‘As always, we have used several different methods of sale throughout the year. Although the most common method tends to be Private Treaty, we have also sold using Informal Tender and Auction,’ Hebditch pointed out.

He gave as an example the sale of Lanuah Farm, a 96 acre residential and livestock holding on...

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