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Buyers look to north-east estates and farms

By David Porter

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The north-easts has seen a rise in the number of people searching for farms, smallholdings or rural properties since lockdown began.

Crowmallie House near Pitcaple is the latest large estate property to come on to the market in the north-east
Crowmallie House near Pitcaple is the latest large estate property to come on to the market in the north-east

Analysis by agents Savills has shown interest in rural property is up 50 per cent on pre lockdown levels, suggesting the current pandemic has prompted many buyers to reconsider what they desire in a property.

Further, Savills survey findings revealed the amount of outside space has become more important for around half of residential buyers since the lockdown period began.

A village or countryside location is now more attractive to buyers and especially for those with school-aged children.

Many have proved that they can work remotely and efficiently from home, potentially removing the need to be in an office environment five days a week.

Commuting less frequently allows buyers to consider a much wider area when looking for their ideal property.

Evelyn Channing of Savills said: “Locations further away from cities generally offer better value for money.

"Indeed, those who are selling homes in cities to move to the country may find they have sufficient funds to allow them to consider purchasing a small farm, as many fall into the same price bracket as a country house but come with many more advantages.

"Such buyers can enjoy a rural lifestyle without the need for any previous experience in growing crops or looking after livestock.

"For larger rural properties, one such solution might be a contract farming agreement whereby a neighbouring or local farmer undertakes the mechanics of sowing, looking after and harvesting a crop with the returns being shared.”

With the recent sale of the Glenkindie Estate near Alford, north-east properties have been in focus, with Tillycorthie Mansion near Udny topping the sellers league at £1.5m while newly on the market Crowmalie House near Pitcaple is on offer with 68ac of land for over £1.1m.

Knockleith House which sits to the rear of Towie Barclay Castle near Turriff is currently under offer for £1m and the 135ac Mains of Tillyfourie near Monymusk is currently seeking offers over £975k.

Charles Dudgeon, UK Head of Savills Farms and Estates said: “We are seeing this shift to country living all over the UK and as we ease out of lockdown in Scotland it will gather pace north of the border too, with the residential buyer becoming of much greater relevance to the farmland market.

"It follows the pattern we saw in the late 80s and mid-90s when sellers in the south of England were cashing-in and heading north to secure a lot more bang for their buck.

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