Strong growth in land prices despite increase in supply

THE area of farmland publicly marketed in the East of England grew by 42% last year, compared with an 11% increase across England as a whole, according to figures from Savills.

A total of 21,700 acres of farmland in the region went up for sale on the open market during 2011, compared with 15,240 the previous year, meaning that the East of England accounted for 19% of the farmland marketed in England last year.

The biggest increase within the region was in Cambridgeshire where the area marketed more than trebled from 2,500 acres to 7,570 acres, an increase of 204%.

The total doubled in Suffolk, with an increase of 118%, closely followed by Essex, with a 95% increase. However, the area marketed Norfolk fell by 76% compared with 2010 while Hertfordshire saw a 56% fall.

Overall, the figures mean that Cambridge (35%) and Suffolk (29%), accounted for more than half of the farmland marketed in the region.

Savills’ Farmland Value Survey indicated that the average value of Grade 3 arable land in the region increased by 10% last year to �6,860 – this on top of an 18% increase in 2010.

The regional increase in the east compares with a figure of 6.5% for Great Britain as a whole, despite the region’s larger increase in the area of land marketed compared with the national average for England.

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The eastern region recorded particularly strong growth in the arable sector, with the average value of prime arable land increasing by 12.5% to just above �7,400 an acre while the average value of poor quality arable land rose by a more modest 3% to nearly �5,100 an acre.

The average value for Grade 3 pasture rose by 8.3% to �3,250 an acre while the average value for poor pasture land grew by 20% to nearly �2,150 an acre