Forestry investment market hits record high31 March 2023
The recently-released John Clegg & Co Forest Market Review 2022 shows that the forestry investment market hit a record high but that global factors are beginning to bite.
Launched as part of the Strutt & Parker and John Clegg & Co Scottish Land & Property Briefing, the review gives invaluable new insight into the changing dynamics of the commercial forestry market.
Its key findings include:
- 59 forests were sold in Great Britain throughout the 2022 calendar year. This is more than the 2021 calendar year, but slightly below the five-year average
- More than 95% of the commercial forest land sold during 2022 was in Scotland
- The average selling price was 118% of the asking price, which is slightly below the 2021 average (138%) and the five-year average (127%). This may be a reflection of 2022 asking prices being at record levels.
- 56% of forests sold within six months of being marketed, while this is slightly below the five-year average, it is still a sign of the strong demand for forestry as an asset class.
- The average asking price per hectare was over £15,000 for the first time on record, while the asking price per stocked hectare rose to £18,500.
- Forests sold in 2022 for an average of £20,800/stocked hectare in Great Britain.
The report authors said that their feeling overall is that the forestry market remains strong against the backdrop of the long-term trend of rising values, although investors are becoming more circumspect.
This shift in market sentiment was caused by a range of factors, said the report, not least of which was the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sharp energy price rises. The latter impacted on the cost of felling and transporting bulky timber but also increased demand for wood for energy. Timber supply has also been impacted by sanctions on Russia and Belarus, plus the effects of Covid are “still rippling through the global economy”.
The review also notes that it is anticipated that timber prices will rise slightly this year, supporting the returns that plantations can generate from timber sales and bolstering confidence in plantations as an asset class.
“There is an abundance of buyers looking for commercial plantations, in a market lacking supply. Our experience with buyers and sellers makes us believe that this trend will continue and we expect this will lead to competitive prices being paid.”