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A new breed of land buyers?

Published: 01/10/2021 By Sophie Clotworthy

A new breed of land buyers? 
 
The recent pandemic has caused a huge review of people’s aims and aspirations and has also seen a change and a widening of the audiences of potential buyers. We have witnessed the start of an urban exodus with heightened demand for homes with land. But what of the agricultural land market? 
 
Traditionally, blocks of agricultural land and paddocks have been purchased by farmers, landowners and investors, often driven by the benign Capital Tax regime that is afforded to the agricultural property. 
 
But now the market has seen the emergence of a new type of buyer. There is a growing demand, backed by substantial funds, for rewilding land, planting trees to off-set carbon and create Biodiversity Net Gain.  
 
There is a growing and powerful lobby to ensure that agricultural land plays its part in reducing the impact of climate change. Larger parcels of bare land are becoming highly sought after for buyers seeking to use the land for this purpose. Rewilding has the opportunity to aid in reversing the extinction of some species as well as tackling climate change.  
 
Woolley & Wallis have witnessed growth in demand from charities, individuals and some companies all wanting to buy land purely to plant trees – not necessarily with a commercial outcome but with the aim of creating wildlife habitat and broadening the diversity of habitat for a species rich environment. These buyers are well funded, well advised and are taking a long term view. 
 
A change in property development and housebuilding has forced a number of developers to become buyers of land in order to offset nitrogen or phosphate pollution. As an example, there is a collective hiatus in residential development on land within the water catchment leading into the Solent. This is forcing developers to purchase agricultural land to be dedicated as Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) to mitigate any discharge. Developers are buying land and at high prices.  They are required to make a long-term commitment to maintain the ground, - up to an 80 year tie in! This will undoubtedly replicate itself across the country and your Local Planning Authority soon. 
 
The volume of potential buyers will only maintain and strengthen the future value of agricultural land. The advent of these new types of buyer will support the value of the poorer land and possibly narrow the gap between it and the better ground. 
 
For those who are contemplating a sale, we have never seen a better time to sell agricultural land into a market that is cash rich and robust, supported by a benevolent tax regime (which may soon change) and the widest audience of active potential buyers. 
 
To arrange a free and confidential market appraisal of your property or to discuss market conditions further please contact Richard Nocton 07775 636696 r.nocton@w-w.co.uk or Sophie Clotworthy 07467 145524 s.clotworthy@w-w.co.uk