26.2.19 UK BPS ENTITLEMENT MARKET UPDATE
ENGLAND – SCOTLAND – WALES – NORTHERN IRELAND
ENGLAND – 2019 MARKET
The entitlement market is continuing to warm up as we move towards March, with buyers looking for nearly 700 ha of Non-SDA entitlements registering with our firm last week alone. More sellers are also coming to the market, and in the same week nearly 400 ha of Non-SDA entitlements were registered for sale with this firm. At this stage in the season however we are facing the usual “stand-off” between the two, whereby some buyers are making low offers in the hope of bagging a bargain, but for now our sellers are standing firm in the face of this pressure, as they still have nearly three months before the deadline.
Sales agreed in the last couple of weeks have achieved prices of £150 plus VAT for most small (i.e. less than 10) lots, £138-140 plus VAT for mid-sized to larger (i.e. >10) lots, and a few sellers have agreed sales at prices of £135 plus VAT for large lots.
The Brexit uncertainty is undoubtedly putting a cloud over the market, with a lot of buyers quoting Brexit as why they will only make a low offer, but the fact remains that the UK government has confirmed, in the Agriculture Bill press release dated 12th September 2018, that: “For 2019, Direct Payments will be made on the same basis as now, subject to simplifications where possible. Direct Payments for 2020 will also be made in much the same way as now. Simplifications will be made as soon as possible, subject to the terms of the overall Brexit implementation period. There will then be an agricultural transition period in England between 2021 and 2027 as payments are gradually phased out.”
Therefore a landowner buying entitlements in 2019 will receive a 2019 BPS claim payment, subject to them submitting a valid application and complying with the scheme rules, and also a payment in 2020. The € to £ exchange rate will affect the payment received in 2019, however few commentators expect the pound to rally against the Euro before this September, and so the favourable exchange rate in the region of €1-£0.88-£0.90 will result, we predict, in a 2019 payment very similar to 2018 in the region of £228 per ha (after FDM and any other payment adjustments) for Non-SDA.
The SDA market is quiet so far this year, however it is a much smaller market and often doesn’t get started until the BPS applications and associated maps are made available on the RPA online. Some sales agreed before Christmas achieved prices of £200 plus VAT per entitlements, however at present we have a reasonable supply, and it may be sellers will accept offers in the region of £180-200, depending on lot size.
As with the SDA, the market is yet to take off for 2019, and with a good supply available, prices are expected to be £50-65 plus VAT per entitlement, again depending on lot size.
The deadline for trading 2019 English BPS entitlements is 15th May 2019.
2019 English Non-SDA sales against 2018
2018 Weekly flow of trade
Table of comparative average sale and leasing prices for BPS entitlements in England 2012-2018
Since 2015 when the Basic Payment Scheme was first introduced, the Scottish Government Rural Payments & Inspections Division (SGRPID) has applied a siphon on the value of the entitlements when they were transferred without land with the intention of reducing value of the different value entitlements to the Flat Rate for each Region by 2019. Initially the siphon was 50% of the BPS element of the payment (i.e. excluding the greening element), last year it was reduced to 30%, and technically the 30% siphon will be applied again to 2019 entitlement transfers without land. However we have had confirmation in writing from the Stornaway RPID office that, although the siphon will be applied, “at some point in the year the entitlements would then converge to the flat rate for the region” before the 2019 BPS payment is processed, so in essence although the siphon will be applied, all entitlements in each Region will be paid at the same level in 2019.
The market has been trading steadily at around face value, with Region 1 entitlements achieving £210-220 plus VAT, Region 2 around £32-35 plus VAT, and Region 3 around £11-12 plus VAT, with there being particularly strong demand for Region 2 entitlements. The market is not too busy at present, but with the deadline of 2nd April for transferring entitlements fast approaching, this is expected to pick up shortly.
Welsh entitlements (all one Region) have been trading at around £70-80 plus VAT per entitlement, and many have also been sold at auction with an average price of just under £70. This appears very low, as the 2019 payment per ha (including the redistribute payment on the first 54 ha) is expected to be around €255 (£225), and maybe £113 per entitlement after the first 54.
We believe the reason for the low price may relate to the way entitlements were allocated in Wales in 2015, which has resulted in a surplus of entitlements being available. Also there are usually many new entrant/young farmer applications to the National Reserve every year, as families ensure they pass on their farming businesses early to the next generation, often splitting farms between sons and daughters. This of course adds to the pool of entitlements available.
There is currently a good supply of Welsh entitlements, and the closing date for transfer applications to be received is the 30th April.
Northern Irish entitlements are all one Region however they still have different values, depending on the historic value of each farmers’ entitlements, until they all reach a common Flat Rate by 2022.
The multiplier for sales is currently face value (of the BPS element of the entitlement), plus the Greening payment. Therefore an entitlement with, say, an average BPS payment value of €227, plus €100 greening, would be trading at £288 per ha plus VAT (based on the exchange rate of €1=£0.88).
The deadline for transferring Northern Irish entitlements is the 2nd May.