Rockfield Estate in Kells, county Meath.

Cork dominates 2022 country home market

Last year was a bumper year for the prime country home market in Ireland with Cork county at the top of the list with 28% of all purchases.

2022 saw €198m worth of transactions take place around the country – the highest level since the Property Price Register was introduced in 2012.

Cork county was well ahead of the rest, coming in with twice the amount of transactions compred to second on the list Kildare. The third and fourth most popular locations in Ireland were Wicklow and Waterford.

Using Property Price Register data, property advisor Savills Ireland found that total transaction values increased by 48% since 2021, from €134m to €198m.

Interestingly, with the average deal value remaining at approximately €1.5m, the increase was driven by more transactions taking place in 2022, with 130 compared to 86 in 2021.

Catherine McAuliffe, Director, Savills Cork said: “The coastal town of Kinsale on the southern coast of Cork was the country's most popular town in this housing market segment, making up 9% of transactions.

“Kerry has been another very popular destination where buyers from US and Germany have been extremely active,” the Cork expert added.

The comparison with the pre-Covid era is even more pronounced, with €65m and €99m taking place in 2018 and 2019 across 46 and 49 deals respectively.

International buyers accounted for 43% of deals, while cash buyers remained the dominant financing arrangement with 90% of buyers in this market segment acquiring properties without financing agreements, up from 87% in 2021.

James Butler, Head of Country Agency at Savills Ireland said: “Prime country homes continue to be in strong demand as remote or flexible working is now a viable working pattern for many.

“Furthermore, buyers in this segment of the market are likely to be in more senior positions so are granted more flexibility in how they allocate time between the office and working from home.

“Changes to where and how people work have made country living more viable for these more established workers who may not be required to be in the office all the time. This helps explain the extraordinary boost in sales volumes witnessed in 2022 and is likely to be a feature of the prime country homes market this year and beyond,” he said.

Commenting on the number of international buyers in the prime market, Mr Butler added: “International buyers remain a key demographic in the prime segment of the market, especially those with more significant links to Ireland.

James Butler added: “They tend to be Irish nationals who now live abroad and want properties close to where they grew up, or international buyers brought up abroad who want a connection to family roots.

“For US-based buyers in particular, the strength of the dollar has driven demand – and with that, we’ve witnessed an 87% increase in US visitors to the website over the past 6 months,” he concluded.