Bought the farm: where's most valuable?

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In World War II if someone was said to have "bought the farm" it meant they'd died. Nowadays it's a little more literal, which is why international real estate company Savills has published its list of valuations of farm property by nation. South America is apparently seeing its value growing more than anywhere else.

In terms of growth it's certainly the emerging markets which have done best, although to be fair if you're starting from a low position it's relatively easy to make big strides. Brazil, Argentina, Poland, Romania, Hungary. In Romania fland values increased by 1817% (US$ per hectare) between 2002 and 2010. In the Central European markets this is likely to be because of entry into the EU.

The contrast is marked. Ten years ago you could pick up a hectare of land in Brazil for around $800 (US). That price would now be closer to $5200 - a 6.5x increase. Imagine if that had happened to your house.

Food origins


Inevitably this leads to thoughts of where food comes from. If it's easier to invest in farmland because of EU regulations, for example, does this mean we're going to see a load more European food ferried over and adding to the food miles travelled? It's certainly a relatively recent development that we can all enjoy leafy salads in the winter.

Curiously when AOL Money approached both Defra and the Soil Association they had little to say about where food actually came from. The Soil Association in particular pointed out that this wasn't its remit, in many ways, but we'd anticipated some interest.

UK farmland prices have increased by around 17% between 2007 and 2010.

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