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Stackyard News Apr 08

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    Irish Demand for Northern Farms

A huge demand from Irish buyers for farms in England and Scotland is providing north farmers with the opportunity for retirement or lifestyle changes.

Lees Hill, Brampton, sold at auction for £1.26 million
for just over 300 acres.

lees hill farm

Carlisle land agency H&H Bowe is looking for sizeable farms across the north of England and Scotland to satisfy a growing list of clients seeking to buy.

Farms over 200 acres are the main target with potential purchasers wanting dairy units of 300 to 500 acres, mixed livestock units of 300 to 400 acres, mixed arable and livestock units of 1,000 acres and arable units of 2,000 acres.

During a recent three-day visit to Northern Ireland, the H&H Bowe dedicated sales team addressed audiences of more than 100 people each night, resulting in the land agency now having as many as 30 active buyers on its books to augment their existing database.

Advice at the meeting was also given by the Royal Bank of Scotland, solicitor David Hall of Williamson Henry Solicitors, woodland specialists Premier Woodlands and chaired by Harrison & Hetherington Farmstock auctioneers Glyn Lucas and David Thomlinson and Julie Liddle of H & H Bowe.

“Already we have sold properties for people who are some years off retirement age and they have rapidly discovered there is a life after farming,” said H&H Bowe’s Andy Dyer.

“Cashing in their farm can bring a whole new set of advantages such as enabling financial investments to be made for children or grandchildren, tax savings from roll-over relief and numerous other benefits on which we can offer advice.

“The skills acquired to farm, such as management, animal health and welfare knowledge, and the total work ethic, are also appreciated by employers should they want to find work.”

The demand from Irish buyers is for farms of more than 200 acres which currently could have a market value of around £1 million. A sale, by auction, by H & H Bowe Ltd in 2007, Lees Hill, Brampton, made £1.26 million for just over 300 acres.

H&H Bowe is about to advertise a number of smaller farms which will test the local spring market.

Previously, interest from Northern Ireland buyers had been predominantly for dairy/livestock units of around 200 acres and primarily in south west Scotland.

Now the interest is for farms of all sizes, preferably 200 acres-plus as they seek larger ring fenced units in England and Scotland, in all areas and of all types.

It is not only working farms that the Irish farmers are in search of. Business and development opportunities are high on the list of requirements and agricultural land with investment potential is also sought-after, either to let under tenancy or to enter into contract farming arrangements in the longer term.

H&H Bowe director Julie Liddle said farming was extremely buoyant in Northern Ireland and land was at a premium and reflected in the prices there.

“In England and Scotland, Irish buyers could have three times more land for their money. In Northern Ireland the best quality land is bringing £20,000 and £25,000 an acre”.

“There is great enthusiasm particularly from a large number of younger farmers. The people who attended our meetings in Northern Ireland were seriously interested. It’s a question of supply and demand.”

A number of farms on the market have already sold to Irish farmers and to help meet the continuing demand, H&H Bowe’s dedicated sales team is looking for property to sell across the north of England, the Borders and Southern Scotland.

H&H Bowe is a subsidiary of the H&H Group and, as a result, numerous other services can be offered through the Group’s other five operating companies such as livestock auctioneering company Harrison & Hetherington, H&H Insurance Brokers or residential property sales through H&H King. Financial investment advice is also available through H&H Financial Management.

Many purchasers of farms continue to use the services of H&H Bowe for such as their Single Farm Payment and other advice, as well as the Group’s other services.

Sales in Scotland are handled by Alistair McMillan who has in depth knowledge of both the Northern Irish and Scottish farming industries with Julie Liddle and Andy Dyer heading the team in Carlisle.

link New Tax on Initiative in the Countryside
link Trends in Agricultural Tenure in England and Wales 1990-2007
link Fisher German's Successful March Property Auctions

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