Our journey up through Cornwall and Devon to Dorset was a long and winding one. We cycled and walked past numerous properties that we had purchased and sold on behalf of our clients over the years; familiar blocks of land, remote farm houses and big commercial concerns which get increasingly plentiful as you move up through the country.
We travelled through many of the hotspots for rural property, those places which continue to drive the most interest and command the highest prices. In Cornwall it is very much the early ground where daffodils and vegetables are grown. Coastal properties do attract lifestyle buyers in this area, as they do in Devon, but they must be in the very best locations, have an impressive residential element and be well connected to generate the best prices.
There is also demand for means of generating a secondary income for lifestyle businesses, for example holiday lets, an ice cream production facility or a bottling plant.
Moving up through Devon the hotspots for rural property are the Exe Valley, East Devon and bare land hotspots around Exeter. These locations are big performers because of the pressure on space which ultimately pushes land prices up.
Whilst there are some isolated areas of decent arable land, Cornwall and Devon are more well known for dairy, meat and grazing land.
On the moorlands this is exaggerated and the restriction on use is reflected in the price, making Dartmoor and Exmoor in particular appear excellent value.
Buyers of rural land in the South West tend to fall into two groups, adjoining landowners looking to spread capital risk and investment buyers.
The return on agricultural land is moderate, yet it is considered a safe investment and attracts those looking for more long term elements for their portfolios.
The local land market continues to show encouraging signs and whilst prices for bare land are levelling out, the premium for quality grassland (capable of arable) is still edging upwards.