Farmland supply remains at a record low, but encouraging market activity saw farmland values edge higher according to the latest Savills Farmland Values survey.

Average farmland values remained remarkably resilient for 2020 showing no impact from the wider economic uncertainty.

Results from the Savills Farmland Values Survey showed average values across all land classes in Great Britain increased for the 12 months to December 2020, with the average 'all land types' indicator finishing up with a 0.7% increase at £6,740/ac.

Average prime arable and Grade 3 arable values were up almost 1% at £8,800/ac and £7,360/ac respectively.

Prime dairy land was unchanged at £6,770/ac, with Grade 3 livestock finishing 0.7% higher at £5,420/ac.

Among the lower quality land types, poor arable rose 1.1% to £6,620/ac with poor livestock up 0.7% to £4,110/ac.

Land supply values

For the second consecutive year farmland supply was at a record low: Just 114,000ac of lowland were bought to the public market for 2020.

This undercuts last year’s record of 122,000ac and is the lowest since Savills started tracking the farmland market in 1993. Last year’s farmland supply was 7% down on 2019 and 31% down on the five-year average.

The difference was greatest in Scotland where supply was 57% down on the five-year average. However, the majority of regions saw supply decline by between 20–40% based on this metric.

Wales was the one exception. Supply exceeded the five-year average by 14%, albeit off a comparatively smaller base.

Buyer and seller analysis

Savills transactions show existing farmers made up 49% of purchasers, up from 42% last year with farm expansion being the overwhelming motivator (45% of all transactions).

Non-farming buyers were successful in 34% of deals with lifestyle purchasers accounting for over half of this figure for the first time in recent history.

Institutions and other corporations accounted for 10% of buyers, up from 5% last year.

An active lifestyle and amenity market in 2020, saw non-farmers account for 63% of vendors, an increase from 48% in 2019.

Most of this change can be attributed to farmers being less active in the market. As a proportion of sellers, their share decreased from 36% in 2019 to 23%.