How did the commercial forest property market of 2020 stack up in Finland compared to Great Britain?
There are some slight differences in definitions of what constitutes 'commercial forestry' between Great Britain and Finland. In Finland, the land registry separately records forest transactions over 10 ha, which can be inferred as commercial, whereas according to Tilhill in GB at least 20 ha stocked area is needed to be deemed commercial and included in their market data.
Perhaps the starkest difference in the market is the number of transactions - In Finland there were over 2000 commercial forests traded in 2020, while in GB the number was just over 60. That said, the average transaction value was much higher in GB in 2020 at £3.28m, compared to around £111,000 depending on the exchange rate used. Thus, the total market value is bigger in Finland, but not by as much as the transaction volume might suggest.
The other big difference to highlight is the transaction value per ha. In Finland, the acquisition cost is almost 6 times less at ~£2,700 / ha compared to ~£16,000 / ha in GB. Of course for forestry investors, acquisition costs are only one part of the equation and lower property purchase values may not necessarily reflect higher investment returns.