Buying property in Ireland from overseas 

If you are looking to buy property in Ireland whether as an investor or as somebody looking for their forever home, this post will offer some tips on what to keep in mind before making your purchase.  

Fexco receive ongoing enquiries from expats moving back home to Ireland and from non-Irish citizens who are planning to purchase a property. For this reason, we decided to write an article on the property purchasing process in Ireland from abroad.  

From information on how to become a resident and a property price breakdown in Irish cities, to where to find auctioneers, and solicitors as well as your financing options we will take you through the steps of buying your Irish property from overseas. 

Please note: The content used in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or commercial advice. We would strongly advise that you consult the links to official sources are mentioned herein and are satisfied with the research you have taken independently. 

 

1. The property market in Ireland >
2. Can UK Citizens buy property in Ireland? >
3. Can non-EU citizens buy property in Ireland? >
4. How to get an Irish residency >
5. What is the approximate cost of buying property across Ireland? >
6. Finding the right property >
7. Are mortgages available to non-residents in Ireland? >
8. What is a PPS number, and do I need it to buy a house in Ireland? >
9. Where do I find an Irish solicitor? >
10. Paying for your property from abroad: Moving your money >
11. Other costs when purchasing property in Ireland >
12. How Fexco can help you with your property purchase in Ireland while you are a foreign investor: >

 

1. The property market in Ireland 

According to an article in the Irish Examiner, a CSO Property Price Index showed that property prices rose 6.1% in the year to January 2023. 

However, the median asking price for homes in Q1 2023 fell 0.3% from the previous quarter to €310,000, while still rising 3.2% year-on-year. 

The number of properties for sale nationwide is up 30% from March 2022, with over 13,000 homes for sale.  

40% of real estate for sale in the last quarter of 2022 was attributed to landlords selling their investment properties, and this trend is estimated to continue through 2023.  

This spells good news for buyers as more existing homes will be available to purchase on the market. Second hand properties will be a popular choice for buyers in 2023. 

 

2. Can UK Citizens buy property in Ireland?

Following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016, there has been a steady increase in the number of British buyers looking to own property in Ireland.  

 The Common Travel Area, covers England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.  

Ireland has mutual agreement with Britain, UK citizens have the right to live, travel, work and study within the Common Travel Area.  

 

3. Can non-EU Citizens buy property in Ireland?

The good news is that there are no restrictions on foreign nationals buying property in Ireland. This means that there are no restrictions on non-EU/EEA (European Economic Area) citizens.  

You also do not have to be living in Ireland to buy property there.  

However, it is important to note that property ownership does not give the owner the right to residency in Ireland.  

 

4. How to get an Irish residency

To become a resident of Ireland, there are several ways you can do so depending on your individual circumstances. To apply for a residence permit in Ireland, you will need to provide various documents, such as your passport, proof of financial means, and proof of accommodation. You may also need to pass a medical exam and provide a police clearance certificate. 

It’s important to note that immigration laws and requirements can change, so it’s always a good idea to check with the Irish Department of Justice and Equality or an immigration solicitor for the most up-to-date information. 

If you plan to be in Ireland for more than 90 days annually and do not hold an EU/EEA or Swiss citizenship you can apply for residency. There are a few different routes to take if you are acquiring to become a resident of Ireland:  

 

Golden Visa Scheme  

To receive Irish residency, there is a ‘Golden Visa’ scheme with is a popular policy among EU countries to offer to non-residents.  

Under the rules of the Golden Visa scheme, a candidate for residency must invest in €2 million worth of real estate in Ireland. This is also subject to having have no previous criminal convictions.  

 

Enterprise Investment  

Invest for at least 3 years a minimum of €1 million into an Irish enterprise. The organisation needs to be based within Ireland and must help support the economy, I.e., creating employment 

 

Endowment  

Another route to become a resident of Ireland is to donate at least €500,000 to a charity or philanthropic project in the arts, sports, health or education sectors. There must be no financial return for the investment by the foreign investor.  

 

5. What is the approximate cost of buying property across Ireland?

Real estate across the 4 provinces of Ireland varies depending on the location and the property type.  

The median price of property in Q1 2023 for the five Irish cities is mentioned below followed by the average price in some of the most sought-after coastal counties:

CITY  DUBLIN  CORK  LIMERICK  GALWAY   WATERFORD 
PRICE  €427,800  €323,723  €248,881  €345,880  €194,000 

 

County   Average Property Price (€)  
Clare  €234,058 
Cork  €272,460 
Donegal  €194,101 
Galway   €259,940 
Kerry   €252,460 
Mayo  €199,880 
Waterford  €292,667 

Source : Daft.ie 

 

6. Finding the right property

To find the right property, it’s important to work with a reputable real estate agent who knows the local market. A good agent will help you to find properties that match your criteria and negotiate on your behalf.   

Your first step is to check out the list of registered auctioneers and estate agents in Ireland to help you find your dream Irish property.  

Thes estate agents are licenced by the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PRSA) giving you the assurance that the property you want to purchase is sold legally in Ireland 

Some of the better Irish property websites that can help you start with your search are Daft.ie, Myhome.ie and Property.ie 

 

 

7. Are mortgages available to non-residents in Ireland?

The reality is that applying for and getting a mortgage in Ireland whilst resident here will always be easier than applying whilst residing overseas. It can also be easier for someone returning to Ireland after being abroad for a few years (expats) as opposed to a non-national seeking to purchase from overseas. 

 Under the mortgage credit directive,  lending in foreign currencies is restricted as it requires lenders to monitor exchange-rate fluctuations on foreign currency mortgages.  

Some Irish banks will usually accept mortgage applications from people employed abroad who plan to live in Ireland in the near future on a full-time basis. 

 These applicants will normally be assessed as Buy to Let applicants (BTL)which means higher deposit requirements (normally 30-40%) . Also note that interest rates will also be higher.  

Researching the right mortgage solution is as important as determining the right property and location to invest in. Check out some useful resources on the process of applying for a mortgage from overseas at mymortgages.ie and blacktowerfm.com. 

 

 

8. What is a PPS number, and do I need it to buy a house in Ireland?

A Personal Public Service (PPS) Number helps you access social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland. The equivalent number used in the UK is a (NI) National Insurance Number, in Canada it is a (SIN) Social Insurance number, and in the United States a (SNN) Social Security Number.  

You will need a PPS number to purchase a property in Ireland as you aren’t permitted to complete a significant financial transaction without one, regardless of whether you’re a resident or non-resident. Your PPS is a tax identification number and to apply personally please visit gov.ie.  

 

 

9. Where do I find an Irish solicitor?

It’s a good idea to hire a local solicitor who will have local knowledge of the area where you are purchasing the property.  

Your solicitor can help with conveyancing, reviewing contracts, ensuring that the property has no limitations, and arranging the transfer of funds. 

The Law Society of Ireland  website provides a list of registered solicitors in Ireland to help with your property purchase.  

A solicitor’s fee will vary but is typically between 1-2% of the property price. 

 

10. Paying for your property from abroad: Moving your money

If you are buying property in Ireland from overseas i.e., UK, Australia, Canada or the US, you may be selling as asset to fund the purchase. This may involve the transfer of one currency i.e. GBP to euros to pay for the property, legal fees and other costs. 

The potential movement in exchange rates between reserving a property and paying for it can have a serious impact on your finances. 

If, as a UK resident for example, you had decided to buy a property in Ireland worth €300,000 in December 2022 and the closing date was the end of February 2023, the adverse exchange rate movement would have cost you £12,000 (~5%). That’s a lot of money to lose when every penny counts. 

          12th of Dec 2022       3rd of Feb 2023 
Property Cost in EUR   €300,000   €300,000 
Exchange Rate   1.1640  1.1126 
Cost in GBP   £257,731  £269,638 

How do I protect my funds from currency fluctuation?

As a specialist in overseas payments and currency risk management, Fexco offers forward contracts to lock in an exchange rate based on today’s price for either a fixed date in the future or between two specified dates. 

 This type of contract allows you to reduce or eliminate your exposure to the potential for adverse exchange rate fluctuation. 

In the above example, had you locked in the rate at 1.16, regardless of the adverse movement in the exchange rate, that €300,000 will still only cost you £257,731. 

 

Get more competitive FX rates and lower fees on transfers 

Most people, whether through reluctance or the lack of awareness of alternative services will use a typical high street bank to transfer funds overseas. 

However, high street bank exchange rates are normally very poor and there are often hefty fees too. In fact, by using the services of a payments specialist like Fexco, you can save up to 5% of the value of your international money transfer compared to exchange rates quoted to you by high street banks. 

The savings on a typical overseas property purchase could make the difference between being able to furnish your new home or not or even whether you can afford to buy it at all. The potential savings on regular monthly transfers can, over the course of a year, be substantial. 

 

Get a free quote for your currency transfer to EUR

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11. Other costs when purchasing property in Ireland

Below is an overview of some of the costs that will be involved when buying property in Ireland: 

 

Stamp Duty:

For properties valued up to €1 million, stamp duty is charged at 1% of the full value. Any properties valued over €1 million will be charged 1% on the first €1 million with a rate of 2% applied to the balance. 

 

Land Registry fees:

Deed of Transfer value   Land Registry fee 
Up to €50,000 €400 
€50,001 to €200,000  €600 
€200,001 to €400,000  €700 
€400,000 +  €800 

 

Notary fee:

  • Commissioner for oaths is €44 flat rate per property purchase.   

 

Structural Surveyor:

A house survey is performed before you close the sale of the property and is essentially a visual inspection of the structure of the house from the foundation to the roof. 

Ask your solicitor for recommendations for an engineer in the area to do a survey on the property.   Make sure the engineer/ surveyor is qualified and has up-to-date indemnity insurance. 

An independent engineers survey report typically costs between €500 to €1,000 depending on home size and type. 

 

Home Insurance/Life Assurance:

In order to secure a mortgage, you will need to have house insurance. It is recommended to shop around for quotes as this cost will depend on a number of factors like property location, age or if the property is for holiday letting etc. 

Life assurance is also needed before your mortgage is drawn down. Any past or present personal and family illnesses will be investigated. This needs to be in place as an assurance that the bank gets paid in the event of an illness to the mortgage holder. 

 

How Fexco can help you with foreign currency transfers when buying property in Ireland

Buying a foreign property is a huge financial commitment. Having an international payments provider in your corner will help you to save a considerable amount of money when transferring funds. 

Fexco will secure a more competitive exchange rate making a substantial difference to how much foreign currency you receive. Your personal account manager will also keep you informed of any potential moves in the currency markets so that you can plan your overseas purchase accordingly. 

Our forward contract solution allows you to fix a rate meaning you will always know how much your purchase is going to cost you, regardless of exchange rate movement.  

Contact one of our payment specialists today or open an account for access to bank beating rates and excellent support. 

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