Almost half of Irish estate agents report surge in inquiries from UK buyers

By Dan Buckley

Sales of Irish homes to UK buyers have risen by 10% on average over the past year, with almost a quarter of them as a result of Brexit, a new study shows.

More than 46% of estate agents have seen an increase in inquiries from the UK over the past year, according to the survey carried out by the Real Estate Alliance group.

Seventeen per cent of all property transactions with UK buyers are directly related to Brexit, with 12% due to jobs moving to Ireland.

However, the Brexit effect has also hit inquiries in border areas and holiday home destinations, with 21% of agents reporting a decrease in calls from the UK.

Overall inquiries are up by an average of 24% among those experiencing an uplift, while those reporting a decrease are seeing calls down by 25%.

“UK buyers make up 11% of overall inquiries and 6% of sales in the Irish market, with our agents reporting an average of five sales each last year, up 10% on the previous 12 months,” said REA spokesperson Barry McDonald.

“Seventeen per cent of inquiries to REA agents cite Brexit as a direct reason for moving to Ireland while 23% are coming to live and work in Ireland, which is up from 16% in our comparable 2016 survey.

Of those, 20% intend to commute to work in the UK, 34% will be working from home for UK companies and 46% will now be working in Ireland.

The survey also shows that 27% are buying for eventual or immediate retirement, 16% are investors, 11% are looking for a change in lifestyle, and 8% are purchasing holiday homes – a market that has been hit by the fall in sterling value.

The typical UK buyer is looking for a rural property (55%) with 67% of them opting for a standalone development.

While the average house price in the State is €234,824, 20% of sales to UK buyers are between €250k-€300k with 22% between €300k-€500k.

Agents reported that almost 40% of inquiries were from buyers in London or the South East of England.

“While 52% of inquiries are coming from returned emigrants, 28% have no previous connection with the country, which we would note as a significant shift,” said McDonald.

“Among our agents who have reported an increase, there is a sentiment that many buyers are leaving the UK in a mixture of fear of the future and disappointment with the result.

“UK activity in the higher end of the market has stalled, according to REA Forkin estate agent in Bray, Co Wicklow. who claim that at the €700,000-€800,000 mark, the prospective buyer is more likely to be engaged in an industry which is affected by Brexit.

“In traditional holiday home spots, agents feel that buyers are reluctant to make a final decision, with many opting to rent."

Real Estate Alliance (REA) is Ireland’s leading property group of chartered surveyors with over 55 branches nationwide, comprising many of the country’s longest-established auctioneers and estate agents.

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