LAND offered with asking prices in excess of £185 million has brought a successful conclusion to 2013 for Carter Jonas and a positive start to 2014.

Kevin Prince, Basingstoke-based farm agency partner for the national property consultancy, says Carter Jonas was responsible for offering more than 18,000 acres of prime farm land in the UK during 2013 with the forecast of more positive activity during 2014.

Mr Prince, based at the firm’s office in London Street, said: “Whilst the reviving economy may mean that some buyers decide to invest in alternative property assets, the strength of farmland will remain, a fact clearly supported by the 2014 Carter Jonas Model Estate report that has just published.

“Many buyers see farmland as having lifestyle appeal, an investment with potential inheritance tax advantages and possibly getting them somewhere spectacular to live.

“On the other hand, farmers are also looking to consolidate their existing holdings where expansion will bring increased profitability for a growing family as the next generation comes into the business.

“In these situations they will purchase neighbouring land or similar properties within a reasonable distance of their own and this has been a significant feature in the 2013 market.

“Much of the prime farming property is being sold without ever reaching the open market and for that reason establishing contacts within both the farming community and among likely external buyers is vital.”

Mr Prince said the competition among these buyers should also ensure values remain strong.

He said for that reason, Carter Jonas is supporting many rural events across the UK during 2014 such as the Alresford and Royal County of Berkshire Shows in September.

“But our wide field of expertise will see us at The CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace and targeted specialist events such as The Dairy Show at Shepton Mallett, All Energy in Aberdeen, and Cereals at Duxford – important marketplaces for our skills in the true country fair tradition,” said Mr Prince.

He said The Model Estate report shows that farmland has an impressive five year performance as an asset.

“We are confident it will maintain a five per cent average capital growth for the next five years,” said Mr Prince.

“Prices in the south have already been outstripping the national average, with £10,000 an acre regularly paid in this region for arable, although second rate land is less desirable and more likely to stagnate.”