THE property market is still strong, according to Retties.

Director of rural and professional services at Rettie and Co, Chris Hall, believes there is still the usual demand for good farms, that it is coming from the usual sources.

“Some farmers are still looking to expand, and there are also those that have maybe rollover or renewables money, that are looking to invest in farmland.

“Farmers are definitely our primary source of buyers, and in Scotland, it is primarily buyers from north of the border, rather than from Ireland or England, so that’s good news as well.”

He continued: “There is not a value gap between England and Scotland when you look at east coast arable land – it is on par with the best of the available arable land down south. We see sales in East Lothian for instance, where it is a case of bigger businesses, with stronger balance sheets, and more leverage.”

On the topic of who is buying land, large Scottish businesses have their part to play, and there are ongoing sales of residential land throughout Scotland.

There is still a market for lifestyle buyers, looking for a rural life.

“These people will always exist”, explained Mr Hall.

“Yes there was the post-Covid hype of people looking to move out from towns, and a significant number of people looking to move closer to their family, but these people were there before Covid as well.

“Lifestyle buyers have always been there for farmland, and will continue to be. People enjoy the opportunity to leave their own footprint on the land. Business people who have bought farms and estates do often like to enjoy the land, they are rarely out to change it too much.”

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When you move away from arable land, into more hill land, Mr Hall explains that there is more of a two-tier market, that can make valuation sometimes quite difficult.

“At the end of the day, forestry buyers are more often than not willing to pay more than people who want to actively farm the land,” he said.

“They will consistently outbid the farmer, but the forestry buying has levelled off a bit as interest rates have become more of a driving factor.

“Forestry companies are looking at the next 30 year investment cycle, so they have to take these things into consideration.

“If you do a financial return on 5%, instead of 2.5% over 30 years, you get a very different figure. The uncertainty over what carbon will come out of tree planting, is also playing its part.”

“In general, the market is still good,” he concluded.

Rettie and Co a few farms on the market, as well as a few smaller blocks of land coming from people who are looking to rejig their business, or balance the books slightly.

People seem to be looking at things and weighing up their options as interest rates fluctuate, but that seems to be more of an issue in residential sales, as things stand just now.

“There is a lot of private wealth around, and people are still looking to make the most of it while they have it at their disposal.

“The aftermath of Covid seems to have reminded people to get on with things!”