Be sure of farmland value

Farmland prices treble but valuation market is complex

22 July 2015

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Farmland prices have rocketed in recent years, driven in no small part by demand from farmers themselves seeking to expand. Chris Hyde, Associate Director with Cooke & Arkwright’s Land Agency department says it is a natural process of evolution. “In many parts of the UK, farms are decreasing in number but increasing in size,” he said. “The reality is that agricultural land prices have often exceeded the rate at which the agricultural economy itself is growing. This is in part due to economies of scale delivered by advances in technology and improvements in equipment and machinery, but also due to incentives in the form of tax breaks and EU entitlements making this commodity valuable not only to famers, but also to investors.”

Agricultural land prices have almost trebled over the last decade, and Wales saw particularly strong price growth during 2014, driven by arable land. However the valuation market is complex and the evolving backdrop to the way landowners and farmers utilise and manage the countryside in Wales and England means that land agents and rural surveyors continually need to progress their profession to keep abreast with changing practices and legislation. The range of work is highly diverse; as well as agriculture, rural surveyors are specialists in all kinds of rural property from landed estates to smallholdings, woodlands to market gardens, and commercial developments to minerals sites.  Membership of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) provides our clients with the assurance that we are fully conversant with all the specialisms in often rapidly changing times.


The CAAV is a professional body with over 2,600 members, all highly qualified rural surveyors who advise on the full range of issues affecting farming, landowners and the countryside. To become a Fellow of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers, members must pass rigorous examinations, maintain a commitment to lifelong learning and abide by CAAV rules of conduct.


Chris Hyde, Associate Director with our Land Agency, is a member of the CAAV Wales Examination Committee. He is responsible for organising the two-day CAAV candidates’ exam tutorial at Aberystwyth University, assuming the role from the outgoing organiser Aled Jones, the Assistant Chief Executive of The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society. It includes lectures by surveyors, solicitors and planning experts, followed by a practical day at Trawsgoed educational dairy farm.  Delegates are expected to have a working knowledge covering the broad spectrum of the rural practice including amongst other things valuation, agriculture, EU Common Agricultural Policy, diversification, farm budgets, marketing and sales, identification and valuation of crops and livestock, L&T matters, compulsory purchase, taxation, planning and renewables.


Examinations are very intense and can focus on many different topics so the tutorials, attended over a maximum of two years, are critical preparation. Candidates come from as far afield as Cumbria to Cornwall and those who go on to earn their fellowship will be true experts in their field, including that of land valuation.

The Leekes Retail and Leisure Group have substantial property assets within the group and have engaged Andrew West to appeal against rating assessments on these properties since 2010. We have consistently been impressed by Andrew's knowledge of the property market and his negotiating skills have been exceptional. Given Andrew's outstanding performance, we would not hesitate to recommend Andrew to any business large or small seeking to appeal their rates liabilities.

Mike Fowler, Group Finance Director, Leekes Group