Episode 4: Investment: Farmland, Unique Properties & Diversification


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James Fisher – Property & News Editor, Country Life

Matthew Sudlow – Head of Estates & Farms Agency, Strutt & Parker

Isabel Swift – Senior Associate Director, Land Management, Strutt & Parker

James Mackenzie – Head of National Country House Department, Strutt & Parker

Farmland has long been an attractive and tangible asset for those who are in love with the great British countryside and looking for a more hands-on experience. Seen as a ‘safe haven’ for investors, buying land has become increasingly popular over the past six to 12 months due to the pandemic. Strutt & Parker’s land management team has also noticed a growing trend amongst landowners for diversification, with many becoming more creative with their properties and looking for ways to maximise yields and create alternative forms of income.

For those with a large amount of land on their estate, setting up camping facilities, converting outbuildings for AirBNB or installing shepherd’s huts can make a very attractive revenue stream. Rural co-working hubs are also a trend to watch with fewer people commuting into towns and cities from the countryside on a daily basis.

In the south of England, vineyards are seeing a mini-boom as many try their hand at viticulture and carbon ‘offsetting’ has become a buzzword in the industry with some landowners looking to plant trees or extend woodland. Many farms started to send out local deliveries such as vegetable boxes to help feed their communities in lockdown and this looks set to continue. There are also commercial opportunities for those looking to invest in renewable energy such as solar schemes on an industrial scale or install electric car charging facilities.

In the country house market above £2 million, the first and second lockdowns of 2020 have exacerbated a trend for entertainment at home. Demand for indoor pools, extensive home gyms and cinema rooms have sky-rocketed. Tennis courts have also come back into fashion and are increasingly being seen as ‘multi-use’ outside space, functioning as children’s playgrounds or 5-aside football pitches for families spending more time at home.

Finally, Strutt & Parker takes a look at some of the most fascinating and unusual properties it has been involved with over the years – including the Dungeness Estate in Kent, otherwise known as Britain’s only desert, and the Solent Forts, currently up for sale in the English Channel.

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