Buying real estate in Ireland as a foreigner?

We've created a guide to help you avoid pitfalls, save time, and make the best long-term investment possible.

Buying property in Ireland as a foreigner: a full guide

Last updated on 

All sources have been thoroughly verified for credibility. Furthermore, an industry specialist has reviewed and approved the final article.

buying property foreigner Ireland

Everything you need to know is included in our Ireland Property Pack

Ireland, with its picturesque countryside, rich history, and welcoming people, is a popular destination for those looking to invest in real estate.

But understanding the legal and regulatory landscape of buying property in a foreign country can be daunting.

That's why this guide is here to help! We'll break down the ins and outs of the Irish property market in a straightforward way, so you can make an informed decision.

Also, for a more in-depth analysis, you can check our property pack for Ireland.

Can you purchase and own a property in Ireland as a foreigner?

If you are American, we have a dedicated blog post regarding the property buying and owning process in Ireland for US citizens.

Foreign nationals can indeed purchase real estate in Ireland, including land, and their rights are largely similar to those of local citizens.

However, there are certain nuances and considerations that are important to understand.

Firstly, there is no general restriction on foreigners buying property in Ireland. This means that regardless of your nationality, you can purchase residential or commercial properties, and own land.

The process for buying property is similar for both foreigners and locals, involving property viewing, making an offer, and engaging solicitors for the legal aspects of the transaction.

Regarding the differences based on your country of origin, Ireland does not discriminate between EU and non-EU citizens in terms of property ownership.

However, your residency status can influence other aspects, such as taxation. Non-residents, for instance, may be subject to different tax regulations compared to residents.

You do not need to reside in Ireland to buy property there. Many foreign investors and individuals purchase properties in Ireland without residing in the country. This makes Ireland an attractive location for those looking to invest in real estate or buy a second home.

Regarding visas and permits, buying property in Ireland does not automatically grant you a right to reside in the country. If you are a non-EU citizen and plan to stay in Ireland for an extended period, you will need to comply with the standard immigration rules and may need to apply for a visa or residence permit.

There is no specific government authorization required exclusively for foreigners to buy property in Ireland.

However, like any property transaction, certain legal and regulatory processes must be followed. This includes checks for anti-money laundering purposes and ensuring that the property has clear title.

As for a minimum investment, there is no set amount that you need to spend to buy property in Ireland.

If you are looking at acquiring residency through investment, Ireland offers an Immigrant Investor Programme, which has specific investment thresholds and criteria.

In terms of taxes and additional costs, be aware that purchasing property in Ireland involves various fees and taxes, including stamp duty, legal fees, and potentially Capital Gains Tax if you sell the property later at a profit.

Can you become a resident in Ireland by buying and owning a property?

In Ireland, there is indeed a scheme through which foreign nationals can gain residency by investing in the country, known as the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP).

However, it's important to note that simply purchasing and owning property is not sufficient to qualify for this program. The IIP is designed for high-net-worth individuals who can make a significant financial contribution to Ireland.

Under the IIP, there are several investment options, but the most relevant to your question is the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) option. This involves investing in an Irish REIT, which is a listed company that holds rental property portfolios.

It's important to clarify that direct investment in real estate (like buying a house or commercial property) does not qualify for the IIP.

The minimum investment for the REIT option is usually around €2 million. This investment must be held for a certain period, typically three years, and there are specific rules about the composition and spread of the investment across different REITs.

To apply for residency under the IIP, you need to submit a detailed application, including proof of your net worth, evidence of the source of your funds, and a comprehensive business plan if you are opting for the enterprise investment.

The application process also involves thorough due diligence checks, including background and criminal record checks.

The number of people who have utilized this scheme varies each year, and it has become a popular route for certain nationalities looking to gain a foothold in the EU. The statistics for the most recent years might not be available without current web browsing.

Once approved, the residency granted under the IIP is initially for two years, which can then be extended. After the first two years, you can apply for a renewal for another three years.

After five years of residency, you may apply for long-term residency, which is not the same as permanent residency but offers similar benefits.

This residency does allow you to live in Ireland, but it doesn't grant you automatic access to Irish citizenship. To apply for citizenship, you need to meet separate criteria, including continuous residence in Ireland for a certain number of years and intentions to remain in the country.

The IIP is a pathway to residency, not citizenship, and it’s important to distinguish between the two. The residency granted under this program allows you to live, work, and study in Ireland, but it does not confer the same rights as citizenship, such as the right to vote.

Thinking of buying real estate in Ireland?

Acquiring property in a different country is a complex task. Don't fall into common traps – grab our guide and make better decisions.

buying property foreigner Ireland

Market metrics

You can find fresh and updated data in our pack of documents related to the real estate market in Ireland.

By examining the the the GDP per capita indicator, we can deduct that Irish people have become 36.2% richer throughout the past 5 years.

As the population's wealth grows, it brings exciting opportunities for real estate investors. The increasing wealth means more people will be looking to invest in real estate, leading to a surge in demand.

The website Numbeo tells us that rental properties in Ireland offer rental yields between 5.3% and 8.0%.

These strong rental yields reflect a positive rental market environment, which can foster long-term sustainability and growth.

To know more, you can also read our dedicated article: is it a good time to buy a property in Ireland?

The life as an expat

Life as an expat in Ireland can be a rewarding experience. The country has a rich culture, stunning natural scenery, and a vibrant economy. Expats in Ireland will find a pleasant climate, friendly locals, and a wide variety of activities to choose from.

The cost of living in Ireland is relatively low, and expats can often find affordable accommodation in cities and towns throughout the country. Expats can also benefit from the country's excellent public transportation system, which makes getting around easy.

Ireland is a great country for expats who want to stay active. The country offers a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to kayaking and surfing. Expats can also take advantage of the country's rich culture, with many festivals and events taking place throughout the year.

Ireland is also a great place for expats who want to learn a new language. English is the official language of the country, but Irish Gaelic is spoken by many locals. Expats can also take advantage of the country's education system, with a wide range of universities and colleges offering courses in a variety of subjects.

Overall, life as an expat in Ireland can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Expats can take advantage of the country's vibrant culture, scenery, and economy, while also enjoying the friendly locals and low cost of living.

What are the best places to buy a property in Ireland?

This table summarizes some of the best places to buy a property in Ireland.

City / Region Population Average Price per sqm (EUR) Strengths
Dublin ≈ 1.4 million 4,000 - 8,000 Capital city, economic center, cultural attractions, vibrant nightlife
Cork ≈ 210,000 3,000 - 6,000 Second-largest city, university town, culinary scene, coastal beauty
Galway ≈ 80,000 3,000 - 6,000 Cultural hub, music festivals, lively arts scene, Connemara region
Limerick ≈ 100,000 2,500 - 5,000 Historic city, educational institutions, medieval architecture
Waterford ≈ 53,000 2,500 - 5,000 Oldest city, Viking heritage, Waterford Crystal, coastal location
Sligo ≈ 20,000 2,000 - 4,000 Coastal town, natural beauty, surfing, literary heritage
Kilkenny ≈ 26,000 2,500 - 5,000 Medieval city, historic sites, festivals, craft and design

Do you need a lawyer to buy a property in Ireland?

When purchasing a property in Ireland, engaging a local lawyer can provide valuable assistance in navigating the legal aspects and ensuring a successful transaction.

One crucial document they can help you with is the Purchase Contract, a legally binding contract between the buyer and seller that outlines the terms and conditions of the sale.

The Irish lawyer can also assist with conducting a Land Registry Search to verify the property's ownership status and identify any potential legal issues or encumbrances.

Additionally, they can guide you through the process of obtaining necessary permits and approvals, such as approval from the local Land Registry or relevant authorities.

They will ensure that all applicable taxes and fees, such as the Stamp Duty and Registration Fees, are paid correctly and in compliance with Irish laws and regulations.

What are the risks when buying real estate in Ireland?

We've got an article dedicated to the risks associated with purchasing property in Ireland.

When buying a property in Ireland, there are a few unique risks that are not common in other countries.

One of the main risks is the potential for unexpected costs associated with the property. In Ireland, buyers are responsible for paying Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) when purchasing a property, which is a tax levied on the transfer of ownership. Additionally, buyers are also responsible for paying the Property Registration Authority (PRA) fee, which is a fee for registering the property with the Land Registry.

Another risk when buying a property in Ireland is the potential for hidden defects. In Ireland, buyers are not required to obtain a Building Survey prior to purchase, meaning that any existing defects may not be discovered until after the purchase. Additionally, the seller is not legally required to disclose any known defects, meaning that buyers must be vigilant when purchasing a property.

Finally, it is important to note that in Ireland, the seller is not legally required to provide a warranty. This means that if any defects arise after the purchase, the buyer may not be able to recoup the cost of repairs from the seller.

real estate Ireland

Everything you need to know is included in our Ireland Property Pack

What are the documents needed for a real estate transaction in Ireland?

When buying a property in Ireland, you will need to provide the following documents:

1. Valid photo ID such as a passport or driver's licence;

2. Proof of address such as a utility bill;

3. Proof of employment, such as a recent payslip;

4. Bank statements from the last 6 months;

5. A certificate of title or Deeds;

6. A contract of sale;

7. Building insurance documents;

8. A surveyor's report;

9. A mortgage deed;

10. A completion statement.

We review each of these documents and tell you how to use them in our property pack for Ireland.

How can you negotiate effectively with people from Ireland?

Here is a list of recommendations when you negotiate a property deal with a local in Ireland:

  1. Politeness and courtesy: Irish culture values politeness and courtesy. Approach negotiations with a friendly and respectful demeanor, using polite language and showing appreciation for the seller's time and effort.
  2. Build rapport: Take the time to engage in friendly conversation and establish a personal connection with the seller. Discuss shared interests or topics of local relevance to create a sense of familiarity and trust.
  3. Be punctual: In Irish culture, being punctual is highly valued. Arrive on time for meetings and show respect for the seller's time and schedule.
  4. Direct communication style: Irish people tend to appreciate direct communication. Clearly express your intentions, requirements, and expectations during negotiations while maintaining a respectful tone.
  5. Research the market: Conduct thorough research on the local property market in Ireland. Familiarize yourself with property prices, market trends, and relevant regulations to negotiate from an informed position.
  6. Negotiate with flexibility: Be open to negotiation and willing to consider alternative options or compromises. Flexibility can help find mutually beneficial solutions and improve your chances of reaching a favorable agreement.
  7. Seek professional advice: Consider consulting with a local real estate agent or solicitor who specializes in property transactions in Ireland. Their expertise can provide valuable insights and guidance during negotiations.
  8. Written agreements: It is customary in Ireland to have written agreements and contracts when finalizing property deals. Ensure all terms and conditions are clearly documented to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes in the future.

Can foreigners obtain a bank loan in Ireland?

Yes, foreigners can obtain property loans in Ireland. The Irish banking system allows non-residents to apply for property loans, subject to certain conditions and requirements.

To obtain a property loan in Ireland as a foreigner, you'll generally need a valid residence permit, proof of income or employment, and meet the specific requirements set by the lending institutions.

In Ireland, foreign individuals may explore mortgage options with banks such as Allied Irish Banks (AIB), Bank of Ireland, and Ulster Bank.

Moreover, mortgage rates in Ireland for a 20-year term range from 1% to 5%, which are considered exceptionally good.

What are the taxes related to a property transaction in Ireland?

Here is a breakdown of taxes related to a property transaction in Ireland.

Tax Description Calculation Who pays
Rental Income Tax Tax on rental income generated from the property 20% tax on the rental income Owner
Capital Gains Tax Tax on the capital gain from the sale of a property 33% on the net capital gain (the difference between sale price and acquisition cost) Seller
Value Added Tax (VAT) Tax on the sale of new residential properties 13.5% VAT for new properties, exemption for existing properties Buyer
Local Property Tax Annual tax on residential properties A progressive scale ranging from 0.1029% to 0.3% of the property market value Owner
Stamp Duty Tax on the transfer of property ownership Varies from 1% to 2% of the transaction amount, depending on the market value of the property Buyer

For a deeper dive into the calculation, refer to:
- the Citizens Information Ireland's website
- the Citizens Information Ireland's website
- the Citizens Information Ireland's website
- the Citizens Information Ireland's website

What fees are involved in a property transaction in Ireland?

Below is a simple breakdown of fees for a property transaction in Ireland.

Fee Description Calculation Who pays
Property Registration Fee Fee for registering the property transfer with the Land Registry Between 0.25% and 0.75% depending on the property value and the type of registration Buyer
Solicitor Fee Fee for legal services related to the property transfer Around 1% to 1.5% of the property purchase price or a fixed fee Buyer
Real Estate Agent Fee Fee charged by estate agents for their services Varies from 1% to 3.5% of the property purchase price Seller

Buying real estate in Ireland can be risky

An increasing number of foreign investors are showing interest in Ireland. However, 90% of them will make mistakes. Avoid the pitfalls with our comprehensive guide.

buying property foreigner Ireland