Buying freehold agriculture land – is it worth it?

by Readers Question

11:24 AM, 20th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Buying freehold agriculture land – is it worth it?

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Buying freehold agriculture land – is it worth it?

I am planning to buy a freehold plot of size 0.2 acre / 845 sq meter @ £12,000 near Beaconsfield / Denham areas as future investment.land

Aware this is agriculture land and maybe in greenbelt area. Even for next 10-15 years might not get planning permission to construct , so land value may not increase significantly.

I was considering to buy woodlands earlier around 1-2 acres, but heard that such lands with greenery and mature woods may not get planning permission at all.

Has anyone got experience buying plots in and around these areas ?

Any pointers/advice is greatly received

CBK



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:27 AM, 20th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Please don't take this as advice. However, I know that is a very expensive area of the Home Counties and we are not making any more land as an Island that is under pressure to build.

Therefore if you can afford to sit on it the gamble has got to be better than putting all on black?

Paul Mullally

12:14 PM, 22nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

I live in and around the areas you're talking about. Putting aside the on-going Insurance and maintenance costs of holding the land, consider the money in the area to fight any change in zoning from Green Belt.

This area is rife with builders and investors alike so if there's a possibility of change, you certainly won't be lonely when it comes to competition in buying the land.

Good luck, but not for me.

b

12:23 PM, 22nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

Thanks a lot Neil & Paul for quick replies. I've visited both areas during weekend and spoke with couple of farmers living in the area. There isn't any plotting / demarcation of the plot boundaries yet and developer don't have any intention to do in near future. Also the plot has only appreciated 50% in last 15 years. Btw I wasn't aware there will be on-going maintenance and insurance costs, how much would they be appox ?

Paul Mullally

13:07 PM, 22nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

Not sure, you would really need to get some quotes for Liability Insurance in case anyone is injured on the land. If it's not fenced, you will also need/want to look at securing the plot you own then appointing a Forestry and Aboriculturalist company to maintain the wooded areas.

I tinkered with the idea a while back and decided to stick to property 🙂

Mike W

14:03 PM, 22nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

This is an area which you have to completely understand. Have you read the 'local plan'? Do you know what the planning policies are? Your comments seem to indicate you don't know about these things.

As an example I bought a house on a corner of a road and a 'side road'. It had a very large rear garden. A previous owner had constructed a rear exit so that from the side road he could park his caravan in the rear garden. There was no frontal access to the rear as a garage had been built alongside the house completely blocking that for vehicular access. When I stood in the rear garden with the valuer/surveyor I said are you thinking what I am thinking? We both agreed there was enough room for a house. Indeed there were examples within relatively close walking distance where a similar development had taken place. Yet the price I was paying clearly put no value on the possibility of development.

We bought the house and the slow learning process started. I applied for planning permission and it was refused. I went to appeal and it was refused. The reason was that there were policies which I was not aware of. When I became aware I realised that the rear garden plot had no value - unless I could buy the adjoining house AND that I did not disclose I was the neighbour. Ten years passed and the neighbours house eventually came on the market. A relative with a different surname bought the property with my finance.

With the two areas of ground we got planning permission. But then the downturn hit. And of course planning permission can expire..... Suffice it to say some 10 years after planning permission was obtained we are now thinking we can build. But then there is the issue of how you do it and where you get the finance. And there are issues of whether you live in it or build to rent out....

And therein lies another equally long story.

b

9:29 AM, 23rd February 2016
About 3 years ago

Thank Mike for the comment. Provided me good insight, now will dig deeper and check if buying land is worth it or not.

Old Mrs Landlord

12:14 PM, 23rd February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "b " at "23/02/2016 - 09:29":

b, 50% appreciation in 15 years is jolly good going for agricultural land.

However, of course it will require management. A field is a man-made, farmed environment and if not regularly grazed (thus producing meat/milk) or mown (thus producing winter forage) will be invaded first by coarse grasses and weeds such as thistles, nettles, docks etc. and then by brambles and scrub, which will in turn give way to tree seedlings. After 30 years of such neglect you will have woodland, which will itself require management. There is no option of just forgetting about it for however many years it takes to get planning permission.

b

12:31 PM, 23rd February 2016
About 3 years ago

That's an excellent summary "Old Mrs Landlord" about the perils in investing land.

Looks like this definitely isn't something for me, and will stick to Property investing for the time being.

That said, thanks a lot everyone for the inputs, much appreciated for your time.


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