Thainstone Agricultural Centre, A96, Inverurie AB51 5XZ
As we bid a fond farewell to 2023, we reflect on another busy year of sales and valuations fulfilled by Aberdeen & Northern Estates. The widespread trend of a limited supply of farms and farmland being brought to the open market continued throughout 2023, however Aberdeen & Northern Estates marketed a range of agricultural and rural properties resulting in 31 successful sales completing in the year totalling over £12.5m, and over 1,600 acres, as well as several other properties going ‘Under Offer’.
Throughout 2023, we have seen the uncertainty of agricultural policy and agricultural support continue to play a key role in a parties decision to sell, in some cases delaying a decision but also encouraging others to sell more imminently. As seen in previous years, retirement remains a key driver in the agricultural property market. With continued limited supply of farmland, demand from agricultural and non-agricultural buyers, locally and nationally, across all land types, farms and smallholdings remained strong throughout the year.
On a positive note, with strong demand we have seen the Aberdeenshire farmland market perform very well throughout the year, seeing an overall average price of over £6,000 paid per acre across all bare land sales, compared to an average of around £5,500 per acre in 2022. Prime arable land has realised over £8,000 per acre in popular areas known for producing high yields of crops. Overall, the low supply to the market and strong demand has resulted in competitive closing dates held and often sizeable premium offers received for our clients, with the open market continuing to achieve the best prices in a competitive setting.
It is noted that there are geographic hotspots and cooler areas, and in the latter locations, asking prices and expectations need to be realistic based on fewer market participants and comparable sales evidence.
Our team have covered a widespread area across the North and North East of Scotland, delivering valuations and property sales from Brechin, Angus to Halkirk, Caithness and over to Orkney & Shetland. Across Aberdeenshire, equipped farm sales have averaged around £6,800 per acre, showing a slight increase on the year from around £6,500 in 2022. A selection of agricultural properties marketed by Aberdeen & Northern Estates in 2023 include:
Upper Aucheoch Farm, Maud - Strong demand from launch to market in October, saw a very successful closing date held in November with a great number of competing offers received.
Fawells Farm, Keith-hall, Inverurie - On the market in December 2022, this sold very competitively at closing date at the end of January.
Lower Affleck and Land at Arden, Whiterashes, Newmacher - A mixed Aberdeenshire farm that was successfully marketed and sold in summer 2023
Although activity continues, interest and heat has cooled in farmland forestry planting for investors in 2023, compared to the previous few years. According to the Scottish Land Commission Rural Land Insights Report 2023, demand for plantable land fell during the final quarter of 2022, due to a reported decline in forestry buyers’ confidence and land values.
2023 has been a year for positive business growth in the Caithness area. Bolstered by our well-established presence in the County with operations at Caithness Livestock Centre, Aberdeen & Northern Estates carried out two successful open-market farm sales and assisted in a private farm sale this year. Interest in good farm properties offering attractive land packages has been very strong to date both locally and nationally, proving that selling on the open market continues to be the best way to sell to achieve good premiums. The sale of Overton Farm, Bilbster near Wick was met with great demand, with the 76-acre farm being marked ‘Under Offer’ less than two weeks of being launched to market in December.
Looking ahead, if you are thinking about selling in 2024, our friendly and professional team would be happy to discuss your requirements in complete confidence, providing you with impartial advice and recommendations to maximise value for your property.
Take a look at our full range of professional services here.
A happy, healthy and prosperous new year to all.