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How might Brexit affect farmers’ ability to borrow?


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By Peter Wright FRICS FAAV, AMC Agent, Balfours, Craven Arms.

We know that we shall be coming out of the EU but when and how this may happen is anyone’s guess. I voted to remain with my head but my heart wasn’t in it. That said, the more I see of how the EU politicians and bureaucrats are reacting to the UK decision to leave the more I am convinced that we have made the right decision.  I hope so.

I’m amazed how many farmers I’ve come across who voted to leave. Without doubt there are producers who feel we should and could compete in the global market without Basic Payment support, or is it that all the red tape is more of an issue? I don’t think we’ve seen the last of either but at least it will be UK who will decide policy.

Since the recession, banks have favoured the agricultural sector as one of the few safe places for lending. In the last few years there have been some very disappointing end of year accounts which, added to all the talk of uncertainty, may have some bearing on how the banks might adjust their lending policy.

Interest rates cannot fall much further and now I see that fixed rates are just beginning to nudge upwards, which is a sure sign that the base rate may be raised. We’ve been speculating on this for at least six years and it’s never happened, but it will, we just don’t know when.

A deal with the USA may well mean an influx of cheap farm produce into this country. Our supermarkets you can be sure will take advantage of this knowing that most housewives buy on cost, not always on quality, which will make it difficult for British farmers.

There is never a better time than now, to reappraise existing farm enterprises and manage risks that the threatened future uncertainties may bring. There will be opportunities but these invariably will require investment.

Now is the time to be securing extra borrowing facilities. AMC’s Flexible Loan is an ideal starting place in providing a degree of unspecific working capital for businesses so that when decisions need to be made they can be swiftly acted upon.

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Pretty market town with superfast broadband


Imagine a home with 80mb fibre broadband speed; it’s a treat many of us can only hope for. However for 15 year old, five bedroom, Barrow House, a relatively new kid on the block at Hunter’s Gate, Much Wenlock, 80mb broadband is a reality.

On the market with Balfours, this traditionally designed home is young enough to be fresh and contemporary, while enhanced by features including a traditional fireplace – with gas flame – cosy, clean and instant.

The spacious entrance hall provides access to each of the reception rooms. A study and dining room are found at the front of the house, while the kitchen and sitting room, with conservatory overlooking the private garden. Off from the fitted kitchen is a utility which also has external access.

The first and second floor provides a master bedroom with dressing room and en-suite; an en-suite guest bedroom and three additional bedrooms, plus a family bathroom.

Barrow House includes a double garage set back on the driveway which can accommodate several cars. The garden to the front is framed by a pretty local stone wall, while the rear garden is enclosed by a substantial brick wall.

Says Balfours’ agent, Duncan Scobie, “Not only is this a delightful and well-presented property, but it is situated in the popular pretty market town of Much Wenlock, with an excellent community infrastructure, including primary and secondary schools, renowned butcher and much more.

“It is also perfectly situated to serve the major towns of Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth and Telford all being within a very easy commute. And of course, to whether the family are streaming, or you don’t want to commute to the office, you can rely on a superfast broadband connection.”

Barrow House is marketed with a guide price of £500,000, for more information call Duncan Scobie on 01743 353511.

Barrow main

Barrow consevatory

barrow house bedroom

Barrow bedroom

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Signs of spring 2017 property market forging ahead


February 2017 has seen the supply of prospective rural properties to the market suddenly switch on.

However, there remains a significant in-balance between the numbers of good houses in rural and semi-rural locations coming to the market, compared to the number of prospective buyers, says Duncan Scobie of Balfours. He says: “The number of registered cash buyers and those in rented accommodation currently house hunting and able to proceed outweighs rural properties on the market.

“We are starting to see home buyers and vendors with an appetite to both view properties and to have their properties valued; their objective is to launch to the market as soon as possible. Since the calendar turned from January to February it has been as if a tap has been switched on,” he adds.

He observes a big difference compared to the town property market where the phones began ringing from the beginning of January. “This month the floodgates have opened with the diary full of valuations for rural and semi-rural properties, which is very positive. “

As a result of this certain properties on Balfours books are now receiving multiple offers on them. “There is a trend that buyers want to buy a property ready to move into and that they are draft free and well-presented which perhaps was not the case a few years ago.  Those buyers, who do want a project, are in a mind-set that the price must reflect work to be done – and certainly this is more of a buyers’ market.”

He concludes: “Prospective vendors are pleasantly surprised; the supply and demand of good rural and semi-rural properties is promising a very favourable early spring market.”

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Balfours Apprenticeship Success Story - Nathan Baker


Today leaving school at 16 is a brave and some might say short-sighted move. However Nathan Baker, now 20 years old, has proved a career path that not only offers great prospects, but also a positive bank balance, with no University debts.

Nathan was offered a job with land agents Balfours, in its accounts department linked to an apprenticeship with Herefordshire and Ludlow Colleges. Four years on the job studying came to fruition last autumn in a double graduation ceremony at Hereford Cathedral where he achieved an Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and Business Skills, level four.

Now taking a gap period from four years studying, Nathan continues to enjoy the challenges within Balfours accounts team. “It is really rewarding when we are working on big projects and year end is always full of interesting challenges,” he reflects.

While enjoying a period of consolidation, he is already researching the prospect of embarking on his ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accounts) which is practice audit/tax accounting. He says: “It has been a new challenge, moving from Balfours Craven Arms office, to the Shrewsbury office at Oxon Business Park. There are a number of us all undertaking part-time studies alongside our work, which is motivating and means there is always someone to help with accounting conundrums.”

Nathan modestly omits to mention that not only has he graduated, but he has received promotion within Balfours’ growing business.

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Residential property market on the move


Sales have completed and exchanged on a variety of residential properties raising the bar on the bleak month of January at Balfours.

Among the transactions is The Mount, a three bedroom Edwardian home located in the popular village of Minsterley, ten miles west of Shrewsbury and marketed with a guide price of £320,000.

Agent, Tim Main says: “The property had many period features, with the jewel in the crown being the very generously sized kitchen breakfast room.”

Also recently completed is Laburnum Cottage, a two bedroom property just over the border at Eccleshall, Staffordshire. This pretty retreat is in the rural hamlet of Offley Hay, which is neither isolated nor overly busy. Balfours were marketing Laburnum Cottage with a guide price of £240,000.

Two properties in Wales, Lodge Park, a five bedroom house dating back to the 17th century, and 16th century, Upper Tregodfa have completed and exchanged respectively.

Lodge Park, situated between Machynlleth and Aberystwyth, comprised of the main house, together with three cottages set in six acres, with a guide price of £850,000. Upper Tregodfa, a stone farmhouse with significant character, five bedrooms and 2.5 acres was offered with a guide of £400,000.

Tim Main comments: “The market is stirring quite significantly; while people have been unsure of the political climate property prices have remained sustainable and positive. As a result residential vendors and buyers alike now want to progress with their own game plan and make the most of favourable conditions in the property market.”

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Highly desirable cloistered convenience


A well-presented four bedroom dormer bungalow situated in a quiet and private cul-de-sac, west of Shrewsbury is on the market with Balfours

Two Aspen Grove is situated some two miles from Shrewsbury town centre and one mile away from Radbrook Green’s comprehensive amenities. Shropshire’s county town not only offers fine dining, theatre, but also shops and an excellent selection of state and private schools.

Accommodation comprises a large reception hall, a living room which is bathed in light, with glazing to three aspects, including patio doors to the rear garden. The kitchen is well designed offering excellent space; adjacent are the dining room and conservatory. Also from the kitchen there is access to the garage and utility room.

The master bedroom with en-suite and a second bedroom are to be found off the reception hall, where stairs lead to the second floor with two further bedrooms a family bathroom and study.

Balfours town sales manager, Alistair Hilton, comments: “Two Aspen Grove boasts a cloistered setting with a wraparound garden. The accommodation is well presented and very flexible, perhaps most important is its convenience to Shrewsbury and local facilities, which makes it a very desirable location.”

Two Aspen Grove, Shrewsbury is marketed with a guide price of £495,000, for more information call Alistair Hilton on 01743 353511.

Please click here for further details.


Aspen main

Aspen 8

Aspen conservation

Aspen garden

Aspen kitchen

Aspen living

Aspen master bed

Aspen reception hall

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