Serving the Farming Industry across East Anglia for 35 Years
Smaller farms made the vast majority of land sold on the open market in East Anglia last year, reveal the latest statistics. ‘Race for space’ helps stoke demand for smaller farms

• Urban buyers seeking rural living

• Demand fuelled by covid lockdowns

• More purchasers want to relocate

Smaller farms made the vast majority of land sold on the open market in East Anglia last year, reveal the latest statistics.

Farms under 100ha (250ha) accounted for 75% of those marketed publicly in the region during 2021, according to research has been compiled by Savills. Some 14% were 100-200ha, with 7% 200-400ha and 4% more than 400ha.

Savills say the figures are reflective of a “race for space” seen since the coronavirus pandemic. Although broadly in line with 2020 and 2019, the number of farm sales under 100ha has increased by 65% since 2018. 

Gi D’Angibau, of Savills in Essex, said: “A product of various lockdowns has been the well-reported ‘race for space’ by urban buyers seeking rural living or indeed a complete change of lifestyle – meaning that the desire for smaller farms and land holdings has grown.

Home and away

“Over the past couple of years we’ve sold a number of these for this purpose, as well as blocks of unequipped bare land. Through our network of offices, we regularly come across purchasers looking to relocate to East Anglia, with buyers coming from all over the country and abroad.”

Tourism and leisure businesses – such as wedding venues and glamping pods – have fuelled demand. Other buyers have included enterprises such as ice-cream producers, cider makers or online flower delivery.

Christopher Miles, who leads the rural team for Savills across East Anglia, said: “It is easy to get distracted by headline grabbing deals involving large farms and estates of 1,000 acres or more. But these are not the norm.”

Scarce market

Sale of holdings sized 50-250 acres far outnumbered larger farm sales, said Mr Miles. “Our Farmland Value Survey reveals the strength of demand for farmland holdings of all sizes, with an increasingly diverse range of buyers competing in a scarce market.”

This supply-demand imbalance saw average GB farmland values rise by 6.2% to £7,180 per acre last year. This is the strongest annual growth since 2014, with poorer and average quality livestock land leading the way with price growth of 8.8% and 8.7% respectively in 2021.

“Given the increasingly diversified nature of demand, we now regularly sell larger properties in lots to create smaller farms which we can promote to a targeted and distinct groups of buyers. Indeed, when it comes to selling your farm, size does matter and small is often mighty.”