Buying or renting an apartment in Ireland?

Given the high rental prices, should you buy an apartment in Ireland when you have a career opportunity? Many French people work in Ireland, especially at Apple or Blizzard in Cork: I was part of it until 2010 and my brother still lives there.

Why this attraction?

Economic living conditions in France and Ireland

The median standard of living in France according to INSEE was €21 in 726, or €2019/month.

In Ireland, it was €26, or €250/month:

median standard of living in euros in the european union

Moreover, the unemployment rate in Ireland is historically lower than in France.

unemployment rate ireland

It was less than 5% in 2020 compared to more than 7% in France during the same period:

French unemployment rate

When I was a student, I saw a report by Capital on M6 where a young woman landed 3 interviews and a job the day after her studies.

After having worked 2 years in a bank without much pleasure and without much remuneration (between 1 and 250€ net per month in 1 with bac +450 :)), I ended up trying my luck too... and finding a job in the afternoon.

At the time I lived in Elancourt in the Yvelines, with a rent of 700€ for my T2. So I wasn't horrified when I discovered the rents there… but they take into account the standard of living.

As for all countries in the world, we are facing a real estate market, Rents and selling prices are commensurate with the median salary in the city.

It will therefore be more difficult to own a property in Cork (average price of €320) or Dublin (€000) than in County Donegal:

average property prices Ireland

Given the favorable job prospects in the main cities, prices are tight and it is likely that you will start with a roommate, the time to validate your period and to have a first raise as soon as you have proven yourself.

Most local companies offer a modest starting salary but a "career plan" to retain employees. The job will not necessarily be scalable but at Blizzard, for example, there was provision for 1 additional day off per year of seniority up to +5 maximum, as well as an increase between 1 and 5% depending on the employee's performance.

In addition, you will often benefit from additional advantages: gym subscription, discounts on company products, mutual insurance, retirement plan with company contribution... The system is quite unbeatable for young people and single people.

As soon as you have children, the system will be more financially neutral compared to France since a crèche/school costs approximately €800/month per child.

The level is among the best in the world though :

average level maths sciences in the world

This is reflected in the ranking of countries by Human Development Index (HDI):

ranking of countries by human development index (HDI)

The HDI is calculated from 3 elements:

  1. Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.
  2. The life expectancy of the citizens of the state.
  3. The level of education measured from 15 years and over.

Without being a “declineist”, I was surprised in 2007 to see the reality of the standard of living in Ireland compared to France… and Spain is now ahead of us.

Given our school performance, it is unlikely that the trend will reverse... Which may encourage you to make your life in Ireland. Let's see how to accommodate you ;).

Finding accommodation in Ireland

The most popular site for finding accommodation remains

If this is a first purchase and your knowledge of renovation is limited, I advise you to:

  1. Choose an apartment over a house. The apartments are cheaper to buy and naturally isolated because they benefit from common walls with the other apartments. Particularity: a town house adjoining on 2 sides is often not very sexy… but that already makes 2 insulated walls.
  2. Choose a recent residence ; the more recent the accommodation, the better its insulation, electricity and plumbing standards; its fresher structure will also require less work in the long term. Prefer D+ apartments but don't agree to overpay for a property just because it has a good rating.

What goods can you aim for?

I did a quick search on Daft, on the city of Cork which I know well.

Here are the first 2 apartments with a good energy rating. The largest (82m²) is in the small suburbs, the smallest (45m²) in the city center:

example apartments for sale in Cork Ireland

I assume that you have managed to earn the average salary in this “big” city, which is €2/month.

In France, you could borrow around €165 with this salary:

mortgage simulation 25 years France

Will an Irish bank follow you?

Financing of a property by an Irish bank

I used the services of PermanentTSB when I lived in Ireland. They are careful: you will not have a payment card for 6 months / 1 year.

They apply the same logic for loans: you must first show your credentials. You should already have a sum of at least 10% of the price of the property to be eligible for a loan at their home.

According to their simulator, with the average Irish salary, you could borrow €91 over 854 years:

real estate loan simulation ireland

With your 10% contribution, this corresponds to buying a property of €102.

Where the simulator is interesting is in the calculation of additional costs:

property purchase costs in ireland

In France, you pay the transfer duties (80% of the costs) and the notary's fees (20% of the costs). The average fee on a property is just under 8%.

In Ireland you will have to pay:

  1. Stamp charges (1% of the price).
  2. Legal fees: your lawyer (solicitor) will take care of the "papers".
  3. Registration fees to validate the transfer of ownership.
stamp duty cork ireland stamp duty purchase good

The total of these costs on a property of €102 amounts to €060, or… 2%.

No purchase of real estate without prior savings

I tested the simulator of another bank, AIB.

The proposed amount is €84 over 227 years, with a desired contribution of €25!

It is therefore not the same philosophy as in France where I have often succeeded in borrowing the full price + the costs for the purchase of a property (“110%”).

How to borrow more and buy faster?

Some obvious "hacks" but worth remembering:

Living modestly in shared accommodation.

Do not go out too much, avoid bars, cook your own food.

Advance your career.

More income for more cash aside. Work more to earn more ;).

To pair up.

Or buy with his/her best friend. Saving money is the guarantee of a solid friendship or love :p.

Sublet one or more rooms of the apartment.

Some banks take income generated from rentals into account for the credit limit.

But here we go for 25 years of shared accommodation;).

Finance the property with a French bank?

Possible if you have a property in France on which the bank could take a guarantee.

You will notice that the Irish banks do not bother to detail the rates, the nature of the credit (fixed/variable rate) and the total cost. From experience, the difference is not very noticeable in monthly payment after 20 years but the total cost explodes; it seems to me preferable to set a limit of 25 years.

I earned my first income on the web in 2012 by developing and monetizing the traffic of my sites (AdSense ...).

Since 2013 and my first professional services, I have had the opportunity to participate in the development of more than 450 sites in more than +20 countries.

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    • biller
    • August 27, 2022

    Hello, are you able to provide information on the equivalent French "usufruct" for Ireland? purchase in joint possession with our son but the rents entirely collected by us…

    • Bertrand
    • November 8, 2016

    The ideal is to be able to borrow in France for the acquisition of a property in Ireland, by guaranteeing the loan by a property owned in France. A competitive advantage in the acquisition of around 200 euros per month for a property of 150000 euros. Not insignificant !!!

      • invest
      • September 10, 2018

      Indeed, my brother has been trying to buy for a few years and the Irish banks do not make it easy for him ... not to mention the rise in the market and the outbidding of prospects.

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