THE OFFICE door might be locked just now, but that doesn’t seem to be slowing down the team at Threave Rural.

They are being faced with challenges like everyone else but are adapting to overcome them as best they can.

“We’ve never really been stopped by the pandemic, but things have been really disjointed,” explained the director of the Castle Douglas-based rural consultants, Allan Paterson.

“The market is ever changing, but it’s busy. Demand is high.

“We’re tidying up several sales just now – not many of them were actually farms though, more land with buildings.”

Mr Paterson explained that they have a few farms under instruction just now, but nobody seems ready to commit quite yet.

He said: “It’s not that I think that people are hesitant to sell, but they’re being cautious – they’re hanging back to see what happens.”

With people looking to move out of urban areas, property in the south of the country has been moving fast, and for good prices.

“Everything we put on the market last year, sold in excess of it’s guide price,” admitted Mr Paterson.

“There’s definitely an appetite for good farms, but the appetite for rural residential, is just through the roof. We had one rural home sell this week for 35-40% over its guide price. They’re just being snapped up.

“Unfortunately, in some ways, it’s not local people buying them, but it’s not all people from down south, either. People from the central belt are coming to the south, because they’ve realised, they can work almost solely from home, and not have to live in a town anymore, let alone the city.”

He continued: “Rural residential for us is anything from one acre, up to 15 acres, and we’ve sold 46 properties under this banner, in the last 12 months. We’re sitting with 12 more under offer, just now.”

All properties seem to be selling quite well for Threave Rural. Houses in the towns are going for steady prices, but anything rural is making more than the home report, every time.

Mr Paterson said: “We sold an eight bed, 14 acre property outside Dumfries recently, and it never made it as far as being advertised in the paper. That has happened quite a lot this year, with farms too – the appetite and demand is there.

“There’s a bit of a realignment happening just now over where people want to be. We’ve had people coming up from the Lake District to buy, because down there has got too busy for them.”

As much as things seem positive for the firm, they are also aware that they need to stay pragmatic.

“Don’t get me wrong, the job’s good, but we need to be realistic,” concluded Mr Paterson.

“We’re going to have a difficult year, with changes to IACS and things like that, but we’ll get through it. If we can get through last year, we can get through anything!

“I think the key is to be proactive rather than reactive. The market is constantly changing, but the opportunities are there!”