PROPERTY sales to UK-based buyers have increased by 10pc over the past year, putting pressure on the already stretched housing market.
New data has found that almost half of estate agents nationwide have seen an increase in enquiries from the UK for properties here over the past year with Brexit on the horizon.
The data from estate agents all over Ireland show that Brexit is proving to be double-edged sword – which is helping to drive sales of property but also putting further pressure on the stretched market.
Buyers are a mix of Irish emigrants who want to return home, British workers who want to relocate to Ireland or those who wish to retire here.
Sales to UK-based buyers have now increased by 10pc on average over the past year.
And the majority of homebuyers are looking at middle market properties.
While the average house price in the State is €234,824, 20pc of sales to UK buyers are ranked higher in price, standing generally at between €250,000-€300,000 with 22pc between €300,000-€500,000.
The survey also showed that almost one in five property transactions from the UK was directly caused as a result of Brexit. Overall, this translated into more than one in 20 sales coming from the UK.
Although the buyers include Irish emigrants returning home, there is a significant number who have never lived here but want to relocate.
“UK buyers make up 11pc of overall enquiries and 6pc of sales in the Irish market, with our agents reporting an average of five sales each last year, up 10pc on the previous 12 months,” said REA spokesperson Barry McDonald.
“While 52pc of enquiries are coming from returned emigrants, 28pc have no previous connection with the country, which we would note as a significant shift.”
Overall, 12pc of UK enquiries were caused by jobs moving directly from the UK to Ireland. “We see 17pc of enquiries to REA agents citing Brexit as a direct reason for moving to Ireland,” said Mr McDonald.
“We find that 23pc are coming to live and work in Ireland, which is up from 16pc in our comparable 2016 survey.”
While the majority will be working in Ireland full-time, a sizeable number will be working from home and one in five of these intends to commute.
The typical UK buyer is looking for a rural property (55pc).
The survey also shows that 27pc are buying for retirement, 16pc are investors, 11pc are looking for a change in lifestyle, and 8pc are buying holiday homes. Almost 40pc were from London or the south east of England.
Meanwhile, speculation is mounting that a deal on Brexit could be in the offing ahead of this week’s crunch European summit.
However, the future of the Irish Border was the key sticking point in talks yesterday.
Last night EU ambassadors were summoned to a meeting with Europe’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier after he had an unexpected meeting with UK Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.
The move raised expectations that there was an agreement on the horizon and there were reports that a divorce deal between the EU and the UK could be announced as early as today.
But Mr Barnier last night dampened any such expectations, saying no agreement had yet been reached. He said that, “despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open”.