Buyers of prime country property in Ireland favour Cork and Wicklow, a new report shows

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Cork and Wicklow are the most popular rural locations for country home buyers in the €1 million plus price bracket in Ireland, new research shows. According to the analysis from property consultants Savills Ireland, this suggests that many of those seeking the benefits of country living are also looking to remain within arm’s reach of major cities, be it for shopping and entertainment purposes, prestigious schools or access to good road links and international airports. Indeed, Savills sales data support this view, with a disproportionate number of transactions located in Dublin and neighbouring counties, and along national arterial routes. The report also highlighted that while domestic buyers account for a majority of Savills country homes sales, the single biggest deal in each of the last three years was a cash purchase from the UK or the United States. In addition, Savills noted a greater level of interest from American applicants, many of whom are looking to purchase a piece of family heritage here in Ireland. High net worth individuals from the United Arab Emirates and the Far East are also now beginning to show an interest in the Irish market. ‘Buyers at the top end of the price spectrum highlight location as a top priority. However, this group tends to be on the lookout for much grander homes with secondary accommodation and staff quarters, overlooking water, with 100 or more acres of mature parklands and, in many cases, adjoining equestrian facilities,’ said Harriet Grant, Savills head of country homes. Grant also reported that, unsurprisingly, some 85% of Savills country homes sales over the last three years have been cash transactions. ‘Typically, country homes buyers are not reliant on mortgage finance,’ she pointed out. ‘In reality, a trophy estate will only ever be attainable to a small minority, not only because of the higher price point, but also due to running costs. Therefore, it is little surprise that such a high percentage of Savills country homes sales over the last three years have been cash transactions,’ Grant explained. She added that deals that are being financed with a mortgage tend to involve existing home owners trading up and are generally smaller in value, averaging €520,000 in 2015, compared with almost €1 million for cash buyers. Taylor Scott International

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