Appetite for farm land high in county
Lincolnshire was one of the active areas for farm sales in the country last year, according to a study.
Demand in the county and across the East Midlands was among the highest in England, with the region also having the second highest number of sites marketed in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Research by Smiths Gore showed the region had a higher number of sites marketed than in the same period in the previous two years.
Overall, the average value of English farmland in the fourth quarter of 2012 reached a record high of £9,100 per acre.
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Both bare and equipped land values reached historic high levels.
Bare land values rose 6 per cent in the final quarter of 2012, while equipped land values remained unchanged.
Luke Humphries, of Smiths Gore's East Midlands offices, said: "Supply is limited across the region but there are still a lot of people looking to buy.
"There is still a strong demand for high quality land but the imbalance of supply and demand is more evident than ever before.
"As demand for food continues investors are still looking to agriculture as a safe haven for their money while the poor harvest may dampen the appetite of farmer buyers."
The average value of English farmland rose by 5 per cent since the start of 2012, compared with an increase of 14 per cent during 2011.
Mr Humphries said: "Bare land values have risen strongly, by 6 per cent in the final quarter and by a total of 17 per cent over 2012.
"By comparison the performance of equipped properties was weaker in 2012, with values holding constant in the final quarter, and increasing by a total of 3 per cent during the year.
"Looking at their relative performance over recent years we can see that bare land has been the better investment, increasing in value by 46 per cent over the last three years and 57 per cent since the start of the recession in 2008.
"By comparison, equipped values have increased 34 per cent over the last three years and by 15 per cent since the start of the recession."
Farmland has performed well compared with other investments, such as residential and commercial property, which rose by 1 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively.
However, there was the lowest ever amount of land on sale, with the amount falling below 100,000 acres for the first time.
The figure hit 90,500 acres – 30 per cent lower than in 2011.
Dr Jason Beedell, head of research at Smiths Gore, said: "The agricultural land market has been reducing in size for many years. In the 1970s we were consistently seeing over 400,000 acres per year marketed.
"In the 1980s the average was 325,000 acres, which dropped to 250,000 acres per year in the 1990s."
At the end of this year, Smiths Gore predicts the average value of English farmland to be up by 7 per cent.
It also estimates than fewer than 100,000 acres will again be put on sale.