The price of UK farmland has trebled in less than a decade to hit a record high during the first half of 2013 and is expected to rise further in the next 12 months, according to the RICS rural land market survey.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) survey has revealed that UK farmland now costs an average of £7,440 an acre, compared with £2,400 an acre in 2004. RICS predicts that the average price of an acre of farmland could soon hit £10,000.
RICS said the growth in prices was largely being driven by commercial farmers seeking to expand their operations, although investors were also seeing land as an economic safe haven.
The increase comes despite many farms being hit hard by severe weather over the last year.
Researchers said farmland has outperformed a number of alternative asset classes, which combined with tax breaks and has enhanced its appeal as an investment.
Sue Steer, spokesperson at Rics, said prices are being driven by increasing demand from investors who see land as an economic safe haven.
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"If the relatively tight supply and high demand continues, we could experience the cost per acre going through the £10,000 barrier in the next two to three years," she added.
The growth in land prices has been driven by increases in the price of farm produce across the UK. Demand for land from investors and farmers looking to expand their operations have allowed the price to grow.
RICS director Sarah Speirs said: "The growth in farmland prices in recent times has been nothing short of staggering.
"In less than 10 years we’ve seen the cost of a square acre of farmland grow to such an extent that investors – not just farmers – are entering the market.
"And, if commodity prices continue to increase and keep demand high, we may well see further increases."