An increased in remote working has been credited with helping to boost sales of prime country homes last year.
About €198 million worth of properties in this category changed hands in 2022 at an average price of €1.5 million, a new report from the property agent Savills has found.
The figure represents an increase of 48 per cent on the €134 million in prime country sales conducted in 2021 and the highest level recorded since the introduction of the Residential Property Price Register, in 2012.
Savills examined prime country home transactions, which are defined as transactions greater than €1 million on properties outside Dublin, the major regional cities and north Co Wicklow. According to its analysis, 130 prime country sales were completed last year, compared with 86 in 2021.
[ The most expensive Irish houses sold in 2022, from Dublin to Cork and Meath to Galway ]
The contrast between 2022 and the pre-Covid era is even more pronounced, with €65 million and €99 million of prime country sales taking place in 2018 and 2019 across 46 and 49 deals, respectively.
International buyers accounted for 43 per cent of deals in 2022, while cash purchasers made up 90 per cent of buyers, up from 87 per cent 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.
“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.”
Cork proved to be the most popular location, accounting for 28 per cent of all purchases, according to Savills. The second, third and fourth most popular locations were Cos Kildare, Wicklow and Waterford.
Top 10 counties for prime country home sales in 2022
- Cork 28 per cent of transactions
- Kildare 14 per cent of transactions
- Wicklow 13 per cent of transactions
- Waterford 8 per cent of transactions
- Kerry 6 per cent of transactions
- Meath 6 per cent of transactions
- Wexford 4 per cent of transactions
- Galway 4 per cent of transactions
- Limerick 3 per cent of transactions
- Donegal 3 per cent of transactions
Referring to the number of international buyers in the prime country home market, Mr Butler said: “These buyers remain a key demographic in the prime segment of the market, especially those with more significant links to Ireland. 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 per cent increase in US visitors to the Savills website over the past six months.”