The largest private landlord in the country Irish Residential Properties Reit - or I-Res - is understood to be eyeing more opportunities in Cork after agreeing its first property purchase in the city.
As part of a €285m deal, mostly covering houses in Dublin, I-Res has agreed to purchase a 50-house development at Harty's Quay on Rochestown Road in Cork.
The overall transaction will see I-Res buy 815 homes from US company Marathon Asset Management. Apart from the Harty's Quay houses, all of the remaining properties are based in Dublin.
I-Res last year hinted that it would seek to expand its presence outside of Dublin to include areas such as Cork, Galway and Limerick.
It is understood that the publicly-listed company is still interested in opportunities in any major urban region of the country, but that Cork will form a significant part of its focus now that it has established a footprint in the city.
The transaction is expected to be completed by August, by which time I-Res Reit will have nearly 3,600 residential homes on its books. The company - which has also increased a revolving credit facility announced in April from €450m to €600m - said the acquisition will be earnings enhancing next year.
"The acquisition underlines the company's strategy for growth and its long-term commitment to the Irish market and will, on completion, bring the I-Res residential unit count to 3,568 residential units with a further 316 residential units due for delivery between now and 2021 under pre-purchase contracts," said I-Res chief executive Margaret Sweeney.
In February, I-Res reported strong figures for 2018; with profits surging by 84% to €119.8m and net rental income up 13.5% at €41.2m. It forecast "significant" demand for the 800 additional rental homes it has coming to market.
Its latest acquisition follows its near €14m purchase of 52 houses in north Dublin in February. The announcement coincided with latest CSO inflation figures, which showed a 5.2% year-on-year rise in private rental costs and a 3.2% annualised rise in mortgage interest costs.