Foreign buyers driving boom in prime country property market, Savills say

Almost €191m spent on country homes in 2023, each of which cost more than €1 million

Foreign buyers are driving an increase in demand for high-end country homes in the Republic, property agent Savills has said, amid another busy year for the market in 2023 after a boom in 2022.

Transactions totalling €190.6 million were conducted last year for country homes – properties outside the main cities and the M50 corridor – each valued at more than €1 million. The figure was slightly below but broadly in line with that of 2022, itself a bumper year for transactions.

James Butler, head of country agency at Savills Ireland, said the majority of buyers at this end of the market are cash purchasers, many of them living abroad. Some are Irish and hoping to return to the Republic after working in another country for a time while others are foreign buyers looking to put down roots here, he said.

The county with the most transactions at this end of the market was Kildare, at 27. Cork – a perennial favourite among buyers, Mr Butler said, particularly around Kinsale – was second with 24, followed by Co Meath with 19 sales and Co Wicklow with three.


One of the largest single transactions in 2023 was the €4.5 million sale of Sprayfield House, Sandycove, near Kinsale in July to US billionaire James Berwind.

At least half of the transactions are to people based abroad. “The key change in the last couple of years is in the number of transactions that have taken place. The number of buyers actively looking for a prime country property has increased and therefore the number of actual transactions has increased,” Mr Butler said.

More people are also thought to want to return to the Republic because of the performance of the economy.

“The other key reason is working habits are changing and flexible work has become more common,” he said. “People therefore look at living further afield from their office because they can spend either all of the time or some of the time working from home and typically those people hold more senior roles within a business.”

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times