The Brexit effect? Irish property sales to UK buyers up 10% in last year

There has been a 10% increase in property sales to buyers from the UK over the last year, a new survey has found.

Almost half of estate agents in Ireland have seen an increase in inquiries from the UK in the last 12 months, while 17% of all property transactions with buyers from the UK are now directly related to Brexit. 12% of these are as a result of jobs moving to Ireland.

The nationwide Brexit survey was carried out by Real Estate Alliance (REA), a property group of Chartered Surveyors with more than 55 branches around the country.

The effects of Brexit were also seen in border areas, with 21% of agents reporting a decrease in calls from the UK.

UK buyers make up 11% of overall enquiries and 6% of sales in the Irish market, according to REA spokesperson Barry McDonald. with

"Our agents [reported] an average of five sales each last year, up 10% on the previous 12 months,” he said.

“17% of enquiries to REA agents cite Brexit as a direct reason for moving to Ireland. 23% are coming to live and work in Ireland, which is up from 16% in our comparable 2016 survey.

He said that, of those making a move as a result of Brexit, one in five will commute to work in the UK, 34% will be working from home for UK companies, and 46% will be working in Ireland.

The survey also found 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.

According to REA, more than half (55%) of typical buyers from the UK are looking for property in rural areas.

A large proportion of buyers are purchasing houses which cost more than the State average of €234,824, with 20% of sales between €250k-€300k and 22% between €300k-€500k.

The study shows that the majority of buyers are coming from London or the South East of England, as agents reported that almost 40% of inquiries were coming from people living in those regions.

“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 is the higher end of the market has stalled, according to REA Forkin in Bray who claim that at the €700-800k 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," he said.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Simon Coveney is in Luxembourg today to attend a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers.

He will also meet British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

He said it was frustrating and disappointing that Brexit talks have stalled after a meeting between the EU and the UK broke up without a breakthrough yesterday.

Discussions between EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab were said to have broken down after the EU demanded a “backstop to the backstop” to prevent a return of a “hard border” between Ireland and the North.

Following the meeting in Brussels, Mr Barnier said that “despite intense efforts” there had been a failure to reach an agreement, while the UK Government said there were still “unresolved issues” relating to the backstop but it remained committed to making progress.

Talks have now been delayed until Wednesday's crucial summit of EU leaders.

In Ireland, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will meet the DUP leader Arlene Foster for a private dinner in Dublin this evening.

By Marita Moloney

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