Rural property expert highlights growing demand for large acreage farms as people make new lifestyle choices

A rural property expert has said the rising demand for high acreage farms could have “significant implications” for the farming community.

Rural property experts said there is a growing interest in farmland.

Stewart Hamilton, a senior surveyor with Stephensons Rural, said farms of more than 500 acres were now commanding “premium prices” from buyers with no farming background which was “changing the face of the market”.

Citing the “ramifications” of the coronavirus pandemic as one of the factors affecting people’s decision to make the move to the countryside, he said the increased interest in larger acreage properties could provide an opportunity for farmers thinking of retiring.

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“Selling the family farm is the biggest decision any farmer will ever take and achieving the biggest sale value is crucially important and can be viewed as the reward for the huge investments of time and care as guardians of the countryside.”

Mr Hamilton said the trend could also help benefit rural communities.

“Some may see this as a whimsical undermining of the agricultural sector but having previously forecast the uptake in urban migration, this presents the ideal next step for the higher income earners to enjoy the countryside while funding rural communities.

“The opportunity to rent new land holdings by farmers unable or unwilling to spend millions on growing their ownership portfolios, would increase competition by driving innovation and much needed change to current farming practices.

“Tenanted land is always difficult to secure and by increasing the volume available it would increase prosperity, which in turn benefits all rural communities and not just the landowner.”

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