Ultra-rich target Irish property

Overseas interest in Irish property increasing, according to Knight Frank report

The world’s richest people are an important potential source of Irish property investment, according to a new report.

With the euro almost at parity with the US dollar, The Wealth Report by Knight Frank says an Irish property that would have cost a US- based buyer €1 million last year would now cost €771,949 based on currency movements alone.

The report is an annual study of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI), or those with net wealth of more than $30 million (€27.9 million), and their impact on the global real estate market. Its findings show that UHNWIs who invest in overseas markets to diversify and preserve their wealth are an increasingly important source of real estate investment globally.

Rena O’Kelly, director of residential at Knight Frank, said overseas interest in Irish properties was increasing.

“There has been a marked uplift in enquiries from overseas, especially the US and the UK. This is as a result of the strength of recovery in the Irish property market combined with the current strength of the US and UK currencies.”

A number of high-profile foreign UHNWIs have already invested in the Irish property market. One of them is billionaire John Malone, the largest landowner in the US, who has bought several hotels, Humewood House and more recently paid €28 million for Castlemartin, the Kildare estate formerly owned by businessman Sir Anthony O'Reilly.

Elena Baturina, known as Russia's richest woman, bought the Morrison Hotel in Dublin for €20 million and spent another €7 million refurbishing it.

UHNWIs in the market for “prime” properties, which in Dublin equates to those priced at more than €820,000, will have a selection to choose from. According to figures from Knight Frank, prime residential property in Dublin grew 13.4 per cent last year, compared with a decline of -0.4 per cent for Europe as a whole.

The report shows that Ireland is home to 820 of the world’s 172,850 ultra rich, and that includes 123 “centa- millionaires” (those with a net worth of more than €100 million) and three billionaires.