01 Oct 2022

Brexit effect sees property sales to UK buyers rise by 10%

Sales to UK buyers have increased by 10% on average over the past year, a nationwide Brexit property survey has found.Over 46% of estate agents have seen an increase in enquiries from the UK over the past year, according to the survey carried out by the Real Estate Alliance Group.

17% of all property transactions with UK buyers are now directly related to Brexit with 12% due to jobs moving to Ireland.

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

Overall enquiries 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 enquiries 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.

“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

“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 enquiries were from buyers in London or the South East of England.

“While 52% of enquiries 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."

“REA Celtic Properties in Bantry are also reporting a number of sales to UK citizens who are moving to West Cork from Portugal, France and Spain.”

The traditional cross border residential sales market has dwindled since the Brexit vote, according to agents in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan

The ongoing Brexit uncertainty is still having an effect as the potential for further movement towards parity with sterling continues to stagnate the market, according to REA McElhinney in Donegal.

REA Gunne in Monaghan are noting uncertainty in border regions in major industries such as food processing, while REA Peter Donohoe in Cavan and Leitrim has seen the northern buyer disappear since the Brexit vote, to be replaced by middle-aged cash buyers from the British mainland.

There has been an increase in commercial activity in areas as diverse as Tipperary, Dublin and Dundalk, with REA Gunne in the border town experiencing a large increase in commercial enquiries, especially in the SME sector, with most awaiting clarity on Brexit terms.

Roscommon agent Seamus Carthy saw a lot of UK transactions stalling or falling through in the earlier part of the year due to market conditions across the water, but has seen an improvement with sales closing faster in recent months.

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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