International Real Estate: House Hunting in … Ireland

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International Real Estate

A Four-Bedroom House in Ireland

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Rob Durston for The New York Times

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Feb. 14, 2018

A LATE GEORGIAN HOUSE IN THE COUNTRY

$1.04 MILLION (850,000 EUROS)

This four-bedroom house is in County Tipperary, about 100 miles from Dublin, just outside the village of Puckane. It comes with 17.5 acres, property that includes gardens, outbuildings, a tennis court and land for agricultural cultivation and sheep grazing; there is also access to a private lake. The 3,670-square-foot home, known as Rockvalley House, was restored in 2005, said David Ashmore, an agent with Ireland Sotheby’s International Realty, which has the listing.

The house sits at the end of a tree-lined driveway. Because of a slight incline in the terrain, it has two aboveground stories in front and three in back.

The reception hall on the ground floor connects three rooms: the drawing room straight ahead, with views of the lake from twin bow windows; a dining room on the left, which fits a table that can seat up to 14; and a family room, also on the left. To the right of the reception hall is a stair landing that leads to a study. Every room has a fireplace and pitch pine floors.

There are four bedrooms on the second floor, two of them en-suite and spacious, suitable as master bedrooms, Mr. Ashmore said. The other two bedrooms share a hall bath. Three of the bedrooms have fireplaces.

On the garden level are the kitchen, a breakfast room, a laundry room and a half bath. The kitchen has glass-and-wood cabinets, a large center island and the original clay-tile floors.

The staircase is quintessentially Georgian, Mr. Ashmore said, with a mahogany balustrade, square balusters and sash windows.

Lough Derg, a large lake on the River Shannon with a yacht club founded in 1835, is about a mile from the house. Activities in the area include sailing, boating and fishing, as well as cycling, which is “increasingly popular,” Mr. Ashmore said. The village of Puckane is a two-minute drive, with a pub and an elementary school. The nearest market is in Nenagh, a town of about 8,000, six miles away. The international airport in Shannon is an hour’s drive, and Dublin Airport is about a two-hour drive.

MARKET OVERVIEW

After rising steadily for four years, real estate prices in and around Dublin and other cities “are now within a year or two of reaching their 2007 peak,” Ronan Lyons, an economist at Trinity College Dublin, wrote in a report about the fourth quarter of 2017, published by Daft, an Irish property search website.

Between the end of 2016 and 2017, the report noted, prices grew 9.2 percent nationally; during each of the previous two years, they grew slightly more than 8 percent on average.

“It’s very much a seller’s market,” Mr. Lyons said. “There’s very little being built, and there’s strong demand,” especially for smaller units and rental properties in areas where there are jobs.

While Ireland’s high prices were caused by a credit bubble in the years leading up to the global financial crisis, he continued, today’s high prices are the result of that lack of housing. “We’re not fighting the same war as 10 or 12 years ago,” Mr. Lyons said. Now, “it’s a supply shortage.”

In County Tipperary, a primarily agricultural region in the country’s heartland, natural attractions and historic monuments draw vacationers and second-home buyers, agents said.

Mr. Ashmore described it as “mixed-profile” market, with both primary and second homes. Residents include those with remote jobs in Dublin, commuters to Limerick and people from outside Ireland who use the region as a base in Europe.

William Talbot, managing director of Sherry FitzGerald Talbot, in County Tipperary, said average prices for semidetached units with three bedrooms, which he described as “starter homes,” are roughly a third of what they are in Dublin (about $185,000 versus $550,000).

Luxury homes in the area are concentrated around Lough Derg, where lakefront properties start at around 600,000 euros (about $740,000), Mr. Talbot said, and properties set back from the water with lake views start at about 400,000 euros ($490,000). Luxury properties with land, a boathouse or a harbor range from about 800,000 euros (about $980,000) to 2.5 million euros ($3.1 million), he said.

Roseanne De Vere Hunt, the head of the Country Homes Farms and Estates department of Sherry FitzGerald, said prices of luxury country estates across the country peaked in 2006, fell around 50 to 60 percent starting in 2008, and have been slowly rising since 2015. Today, she said, they are 35 to 40 percent off the 2006 peak.

Mr. Ashmore put that number slightly higher, at just 25 to 30 percent below the peak. But in County Tipperary, he said, while luxury homes might start at around 500,000 euros (or about $615,000), there are more affordable exceptions: “I think there’s still value within our market.”

WHO BUYS IN COUNTY TIPPERARY

While the number of British buyers in Ireland dropped after the Brexit referendum, agents said, there are still many remaining.

Last year, British buyers made up 12 percent of the luxury country homes market, Ms. De Vere Hunt said. Chinese buyers represented about the same percentage, she said, and there was an influx of buyers from the United States that made up for the drop in buyers from Britain.

Last year, she said, about a third of Sherry FitzGerald’s high-end country homes and estates in Ireland were bought by foreigners.

In County Tipperary, as in Dublin and the rest of Ireland, most of the luxury buyers are foreign, said Mr. Ashmore, who put the number at about 65 to 70 percent. And of those foreign buyers, he added, most are from the United States and Canada.

In the last couple of years, foreign buyers of second homes around Lough Derg have also come from Dubai, Germany and the Netherlands, Mr. Talbot said.

BUYING BASICS

There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in Ireland. But foreigners who want a mortgage may need to make a larger down payment than Irish citizens do — possibly as much as 50 percent, said Niamh O’Grady, a lawyer with Mason, Hayes Curran, in Dublin.

Closing costs paid by a residential buyer include stamp duty, calculated as 1 percent on the first million euros of the purchase price and 2 percent on anything above that; other types of property sales, including agricultural land, are subject to a 6 percent fee.

Buyers also pay land and title registration fees of 400 to 800 euros (roughly $500 to $1,000), records search fees of up to around 200 euros ($250) and, when applicable, a 175 euro ($215) mortgage registration fee.

Transactions are handled by a lawyer, but there is no typical fee, Ms. O’Grady said. She estimated that it might cost anywhere from around 1,000 euros (about $1,225) for lower-priced properties to between .5 and 1 percent of the purchase price for more expensive properties.

Anyone buying real estate in Ireland must register for a tax ID number, a straightforward process that can take several weeks, she said. And before making a purchase, buyers should hire an Irish tax consultant for advice about taxes related to capital gains and rental income, among other issues, Ms. O’Grady said.

WEBSITES

County Tipperary tourism: tipperary.com

Rock of Cashel: cashel.ie

Lough Derg: discoverloughderg.ie/

Lough Derg Yacht Club: loughdergyachtclub.wildapricot.org/

LANGUAGES AND CURRENCY

English, Irish; euro (1 euro = $1.23)

TAXES AND FEES

Annual property taxes on this property are around 1,000 euros ($1,225), Mr. Ashmore said, noting that the taxes are based on a self-assessed valuation of the property.

CONTACT

David Ashmore, Ireland Sotheby’s International Realty, 011-353-87-251-2909; sothebysrealty.com

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