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Thoughts of 23

18th December 2023

As we march on through this unbelievable wet period, heading for Christmas, thoughts turn to what has gone on over this past calendar year. One thing that is sure, it has been unbelievably busy with no signs of this abating for 2024. There have however been a number of points that spring to mind whilst looking back.

The farmland market across Northumberland, Borders and further afield has experienced a very strong trade. In the past twelve months there has probably been more land in Northumberland on the market than there has been in the last five years combined. Recent analysis of the market by Savills shows that there has been more land available nationally since the 1980’s. Demand is still in excess of supply and we have seen bare land arable prices climb in excess of £10,000 per acre. Someone recently commented “Northumberland is now dearer than Lincolnshire”. It perhaps is not just the land that is making the demand but simply that people have now found Northumberland and people are running away from a denser population in the south of the country. The Borders again has seen extremely strong demand and it was great to successfully conclude a number of purchases.

Looking forward, interest rates are certainly starting to hit a number of people however this may well be a short-term view. It will however eliminate a few from the market and with a potential general election looming this may have a slightly negative effect on the market overall, but it is predicted that land will see a steady increase in value.

Moving away from the land market there are a few issues that have hit clients hard. The certainty of death, unplanned, has unfortunately caused quite a bit of scratching around to put things right. The lack of proper paperwork or matters being up to date has left loved ones floundering at times of high emotional stress. The importance of planning and keeping affairs in order has never been more important.

Likewise, it is with regret, that we are living in an age where everything has to be documented. The assumption that people will treat you as you would treat them and likewise and that the next generation will act in the same manner as the older generation cannot be assumed. Even if it is a bit of hassle, it is better to have everything set out to avoid having the carpet whipped out from under your feet.

Relinquishment of Scottish tenancies continues at a pace. These relinquishments can be really life changing moments and if handled incorrectly could cause a significant loss. Again, taking the right advice from the right people is crucial. A number of people are starting to offer advice in this area but quite often it is the wrong advice!

So, looking forward to 2024, what would be my thoughts?

The first would be that we hope it to be drier than it currently is at present! The next would be a continued strong demand for both land purchases and land to let. With instructions already to sell farms, bare land and a farm to let already on the books it is already looking like it is going to be a busy one.

All the best to everyone!

Tom Oates
07785 926 306