According to recently released statistics from Rightmove, British buyers just can’t get enough of Ireland. In January 2018, the property website saw 508,078 views of Irish properties, a 12% year-on-year increase when compared with the 451,344 property views during January 2017.

This is quite the annual leap, so today we’re investigating why so many Brits are looking to the Emerald Isle, where they’re setting their sights and what types of property they’re in the market for.

How many Brits are buying in Ireland each year?

According to a recent report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), as of 2017 Ireland is home to the second highest number of Brits (280,000) living elsewhere in the EU after Spain (310,000). France is in third place with 190,000. This is a huge increase of 168,000 from 2010-2011 when just 112,000 Brits lived in Ireland.

Ireland is home to the second highest number of Brits (280,000) living elsewhere in the EU after Spain (310,000)

So, who exactly are these buyers, and where do they hail from? Data from Rightmove reveals that between April 2017 to March 2018, 82% of people using their site to look at property in Ireland were from the UK. This is followed by 15% from the USA, 2% from South Africa and 1% from France.

Towards the end of 2017, Irish governor Phillip Lane revealed that cash buyers account for around five in every ten purchases of residential property in Ireland. This is a startling figure when compared with the UK, where only 19% of the market purchase with cash. According to data compiled by Savills estate agents, most cash buyers are investors with money in the bank, keen to make a net return of 6% on their purchases. Many of these investors hail from UK shores and seem to be looking to Ireland as a sound investment given its strong property market and growing economy. This interest is only set to be fuelled further as a number of international companies choose Ireland as its base rather than London, post-Brexit. First time buyers make up 11% of cash buyers, and downsizers around 22%. Second-home buyers make up around 10%.

Why are so many Brits buying in Ireland?

Brits are looking to Ireland because living here will allow them to keep their options open once the UK leaves the EU. The Irish government announced that more than 160,000 passports were issued to people in Northern Ireland and the UK in 2017. This accounts for almost 20% of all applications received by the Irish passport service. The same data reveals that 81,572 passports were issued in Northern Ireland, where all citizens have a birth-right, under the Good Friday agreement, to register as either Irish or British. The number was similar in the UK, were 81,287 applications were made. Brits born in Britain using their heritage to register as Irish also shot up by 95%.


Cork is a popular spot with British buyers.

Dublin-born, Sarah Monaghan is the Key Account Manager at Smart Currency Exchange, our trusted partners who have been helping expats to transfer currency to successfully purchase overseas property for more than 20 years. She explained why the number of Brits expressing interest in Irish property is up: “Brits are buying in Ireland because it’s similar to the UK – there’s no language barrier, we drive on the same side of the road – plus it will allow them to remain living in the EU. A lot of clients I speak to holidayed in Ireland when they were young, and they’ve been lured back to the seaside towns they used to visit for peace and quiet, to retire or to purchase holiday homes.”

“It’s also a popular spot with Brits because it’s very easy to move to. No visas necessary and most property agents will help you get set up with utilities and such once you’ve made your purchase. That’s the Irish way – always friendly and happy to help.”

Getting a good deal on your Irish home is often a question of good planning and research. Read our guide: How to Negotiate Abroad to give yourself a head start.

What type of property?

Statistics from Rightmove revealed that 54% of those searching their property website were doing so with relocation in mind. 23% were on the hunt for second homes, and 11% were purely looking to invest.

Where are the most popular areas?

County Cork

County Cork has been attracting Brits for decades, particularly West Cork which is known for its colourful villages and for having a relaxed, arty community. From Cork International Airport you can be back in the UK in an hour and twenty minutes. The so-called Rebel City, or ‘the real Irish capital’ as its residents call it is lively, affordable and has lots of job opportunities in tech, communications and education. The average property price in the County is €240,000 (£209,000) and the most popular spots with Rightmove searchers were Skibbereen, which was the second most popular location in all of Ireland with 5,250 searches, Cork City with 4,403 and Clonakilty with 4,033.


Click on image to view the property on Rightmove.

Imagine waking up to this view every morning – Lough Hyne, a marine lake attached to the Atlantic Ocean! The cottage, which is on the market for £340,918, has three bedrooms, three reception rooms and a bathroom. If you like fishing and sailing, this could be the dream location for you.

County Wexford

County Wexford is located in Ireland’s south-east corner. This is a popular area with Brits due to its proximity to the UK, it’s possible to get back to Wales in four hours via a ferry from Rosslare, which is also the sunniest town in Ireland. The most popular spot was Wexford Town (3,502), where the average property costs €155,000 (£135,000).


Click on image to view the property on Rightmove.

This superb five bedroom, detached house is just a ten minute drive from Wexford Town. The property is finished to the highest standard, sits amongst mature gardens and enjoys sweeping views across Rosslare Strand and Harbour. The property is on the market for £432,000.

County Kerry

County Kerry is located on a scenic peninsula in the southwest corner of Ireland. It lures in Brits due to its rugged coastline and mountain terrain, Killarney National Park, charming coastal villages and the ever-popular tourist hotspot, The Ring of Kerry. Rightmove users were most keen on Kenmare (5,730 – the most popular spot in Ireland) and Tralee (3,567). The average property price in the County currently stands at €160,000 (£139,000).


Click on image to view the property on Rightmove.

This peaceful four-bed property is located in an outstanding spot overlooking Kenmare Bay just five miles from town and is on the market for just £244,760.

County Mayo

County Mayo is found on Ireland’s beautiful west coast, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll be able to enjoy walks along deserted beaches or along the world-famous Cliffs of Moher and enjoy hiking or climbing in Croagh Patrick. Westport is the third most popular location in Ireland with Brits searching for property (5,236) and Ballina, a town close to Killala Bay is another popular choice (3,500). The average property price in County Mayo is currently €120,000 (£105,000).

County Mayo is found on Ireland’s beautiful west coast.

County Leitrim

County Leitrim, which is located in the north of Ireland to the west of the Northern Irish border and to the east of County Sligo., is the cheapest County in Ireland with the average property price being just €124,000 (£108,000). In Carrick-on-Shannon, which was the most well-liked area in the County with Rightmove users (4,403 searches), the average price is just €88,000 (£77,000).

County Wicklow

This has always been a popular County with expats due to its proximity to Dublin. The rural area, set against a backdrop of the beautiful Wicklow Mountains, is home to lovely Irish villages and country estates. DART trains run every 15 minutes and you can be in the heart of Dublin in under an hour from many of County Wicklow’s most popular spots. Bray is the County’s most searched spot with 3,188 annual searches, which is hardly surprising given its seaside location and it being home to some of Ireland’s fanciest restaurants.

Download the Ireland Buying Guide today

The Ireland Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to:

  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

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