Alex Lawson - Spear's Magazine

Alex Lawson


Alex Lawson
The Spear’s Indices
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It’s not just London who agents describe 2015 as having been difficult for the market — Lawson says the countryside has felt the hit too: ‘In the last fifteen years commercial farmland has escalated in price enormously. It almost tripled in value just over a decade. That growth was not sustained throughout 2015.’

The head of Savills’ national farms and estates office is disheartened for not replicating the 40,000-acre sale for £249 million on behalf of Co-operative Group last year, but he admits that such an opportunity might not arrive even decades later. He is pleased, however, with a significant number of transactions for estates and farms in excess of a thousand acres: ‘For England, a thousand acres is still pretty rare.’

Lawson sees the amenity estate market and the residential rural market gradually improving. Confident about the performance of rural estates, he feels the market is a ‘really sensible, defensive asset class for a mixed portfolio’. ‘Whether that is for ultra-high-net-worth individuals or wealthy families looking for capital protection, or whether it’s modern or more traditional institutional type purchases, it is felt still to be a very attractive asset class because it’s a very secure investment.’