Guide to buying a property in Ireland
Ireland has become a hugely popular immigration destination in recent years. High quality of life, excellent education, a robust economy, and an abundance of job opportunities are just a few of the many factors that have led to its growing popularity.
For those who plan to stay in Ireland, buying a house to live in or for the family makes perfect sense. There are no residency-based restrictions to buying property in Ireland. You can buy property here if you are an Irish citizen, EU/EEA citizen, non-EEA national, or even non-resident in Ireland.
However, due to its growing population, strong employment market, and coupled with a very tight housing supply, property buyers and investors can often find it difficult to buy a residence in Ireland. This is most evident in Dublin and in other prime locations. A 1-bedroom or a 2-bedroom apartment can be snapped up by the local market very quickly with the average time to sale agreed to be about 2-3 months, some only take a few weeks, indicative of a tight market.
The housing demand remains strong despite the uncertain economic environment posted by events in Ukraine, higher energy prices, CPI inflation, and European Central Bank (ECB) rate hikes. Transactions are currently still being agreed above the asking price as the demand remains high.
From an investment perspective – historically, real estate has proven to be a stable investment during inflation with a high chance of value increase. Ireland offers strong economic stability, and investing in property in Ireland is not only safe but also profitable due to yields that can go beyond 5%.
It is an exciting opportunity to own a property in Ireland right now, however, you may want to pay attention to the following information.
Budgeting and mortgage
When buying a property in Ireland, there are some associated costs a buyer would have to consider, such as legal fees, insurance, and stamp duty. Allow about 3-5% of the purchase price to cover the costs of buying your new home in Ireland.
Stamp duty applies to both new and second-hand property. Stamp duty is applied every time you become the new owner of a property. The current rates are 1% of the first €1 million paid for a property and 2% on any amount above €1 million.
For example, if you buy a house for €1.3 million, you will pay €10,000 (1%) on the first 1 million and €6,000 (2%) on the remaining €300,000.
Where VAT applies stamp duty is calculated on the property price excluding vat.
Stamp duty is usually paid when you complete the process of buying the property and your solicitor will usually arrange this for you.
If applying for a mortgage, it is uneasy for foreigners. You will usually need to be living in Ireland for at least 6 months and have been in employment for at least 12 months before most lenders (i.e. banks) will consider you for a mortgage.
It can sometimes be easier for an “expatriate” to get a mortgage when someone is returning to Ireland after being abroad for a few years. Some Irish banks will not even consider lending to someone who lives outside Ireland and doesn’t have most of their income in Euros.
All homes for sale must have a Building Energy Rating (BER). The BER tells you how energy-efficient your home is. A-rated properties are the most energy efficient while G-rated homes are the least energy efficient. When choosing a property to buy, considering its energy rating is important, not only does it help lower energy use, but also houses with a good energy efficiency rating can fetch almost 10% more than a comparable property with a low BER rating.
The Solicitor and the power of attorney
During the property purchase process, it’s advisable to have sound legal advice from a party acting in your interest, especially when you are not able to stay in Ireland to manage the purchase process, you can nominate a solicitor based in Ireland to represent you throughout the whole legal process and grant your solicitor power of attorney.
Solicitors’ charges vary substantially, however, a good solicitor who is experienced in representing buyers from overseas can help you avoid or deal with common problems, and that will save you a lot of time with less hassle, this is usually money well spent!
It is important for property buyers to apply for an Irish PPS Number (equivalent to a National Insurance Number) personally before purchasing a property in Ireland regardless of whether you are a resident or non-resident. You are not permitted to complete a significant financial transaction without the PPS Number. Your solicitor can advise you on this if you are not sure where to start.
The buying process
In order to secure your chosen property and have it taken off the market, you would normally be required to make a reservation with a deposit, then usually pay 10% of the property’s cost within a few weeks of signing a contract which your solicitor sends to the seller’s solicitor. The balance of monies due is payable on property completion.
Requisitions on title
Between signing the contract and paying the remainder of the monies owed, your solicitor will draft a purchase deed and ask the seller’s solicitor a range of standard questions (known as Requisitions on Title) regarding the sale of the property. Note, at this point you as the buyer have committed yourself to purchase the property (providing the answers to the requisitions are satisfactory), but the seller is not committed to selling the property until they sign the Deed of Conveyance prepared by your solicitor.
Buying a house is not only exciting, but it’s one of life’s achievements. Property is also a great investment asset to own for creating passive income and long-term wealth. We at Bartra are always here to advise our clients where to live and where to buy in Ireland. Interested in buying a property in Ireland? Contact us now.
Read on for more published content about Ireland property: Our colleague Richard Lenehan met Jonathan Dowling, who works for Bartra New Homes, in Dublin’s prime residential district Blackrock to check out the Glensavage Estate and learn more about the residential buying process for overseas buyers. Click to view the video.