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John Clegg & Co and Tilhill’s annual UK Forest Market Report is widely considered as the most complete record of forestry transactions in the UK.
Forests are viewed as vital to the growth of the UK’s low-carbon economy, which is why corporations and funds are eager to invest alongside natural capital factors.
This year’s research notes that commercial forestry purchasers and financial institutions are showing unprecedented interest in the sector.
Some are seasoned forestry investors, while others are newcomers with a variety of goals in mind, some of which are purely financial in nature, while others are motivated by environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns or natural capital outcomes.
According to the research, forestry assets worth a total of £200.4 million were traded this year, marking another another record year for the industry.
This year it includes a new section on the market for planting land, which shows an additional £53m worth of land suitable for afforestation transacted, plus £26m worth of natural capital land.
A 21% increase in forestry values from just under £16,000 per stocked hectare in 2020 to £19,300 per stocked hectare in 2021 is one of the key conclusions.
According to the survey, however, there is a wide range of costs paid, with considerable geographic and quality variances.
In 2021, the entire value of the forestry market was £200.40 million, up from £200.18 million in 2020, with 70 planting land purchases for £53 million.
According to the research, Scotland had the greatest share of the commercial forest industry, accounting for 76 percent by value.
Tilhill’s head of forestry investment, Peter Chappell, described the UK forestry business as being in a “interesting time.”
“”The positive long-term outlook for timber values has buoyed confidence in how commercial forests can perform as an investment and the wider benefits of trees and woodland to society and the environment are being increasingly recognised.
“The value of an average stocked acre has continued to rise uninterrupted this year, gaining 21%.” This suggests that prices have climbed from £9,300 in 2018 to £19,300 in 2021 in the last three years.”
The trend of younger forests having the greatest unit values has maintained through 2021, according to the analysis.
Mr Chappell said: “This shows investor confidence in timber values, and the fact that younger, second-rotation forests tend to be characterised by high yielding, improved varieties of Sitka spruce, with proven timber extraction and a developed infrastructure.
“There’s also some evidence that larger woods exceeding 100 hectares are now commanding the greatest per hectare values as the market for high-value acquisitions becomes more competitive.”
This is the first year that the research looks at the dynamics of the planting land market.
The overall amount of planting land purchased is anticipated to have increased from 4,460 hectares in 2020 to 6,480 hectares in 2021. In 2021, there were 70 planting land deals in Scotland, England, and Wales, compared to 33 in 2020, according to the research. The average price per gross hectare was £8,500, up from £6,200/ha in 2020. This equates to a figure of £11,000 per plantable hectare in 2021.
The UK Forest Market Report also tracks transactions for mixed woodland sales over 10 hectares in size. Broadleaved woodlands can vary greatly in value with location, look and feel being significant factors, making it a far more subjective market than commercial forestry. Values have continued to rise in 2021, with demand outstripping supply in what is a small, but strong, market.
England dominates the mixed woodland market accounting for £7m of the 2021 UK sale total of £10.7m. The average price in England in 2021 was £6,170 per acre, up from £5,330 in 2020.
However, average values do mask a huge variation in values – the range in prices being paid in England during 2021 was £2,000 to £11,400 per acre.
Edward Daniels, head of forestry at John Clegg & Co, said: “2020 was an extraordinary 12 months in the forestry sector, but 2021 has more than matched it.
“Timber prices have remained high, plantation values are breaking new records and large institutional investors such as pension funds and other new entrants are allocating more capital to sustainable investments than ever before.”
This post was first published on this site.
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