House Hunting in Ireland: Bayside Serenity in County Cork for $1.3 Million
Real Estate

House Hunting in Ireland: Bayside Serenity in County Cork for $1.3 Million

This three-bedroom ranch house, known as the Courtyard, sits on a 0.78-acre lot overlooking Bantry Bay, a long inlet on the southwest coast of Ireland. The roughly 3,500-square-foot house, built about 25 years ago, is one of a handful of homes off a narrow wooded lane near Glengarriff, a village of 250 residents in County Cork, about 215 miles southwest of Dublin.

Gates open to a gravel parking court in front of the house. The calm bay waters leading to the Atlantic Ocean are visible across the yard, which rolls gently down a slate stepping path to a soil beach on Glengarriff Harbor. A detached two-car garage is across the parking court.

“It is beautiful to walk right out on the water and get your kayak,” said Roseanne De Vere Hunt, the director of Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes Farms and Estates — an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate — which has the listing. “There is no dock but a small boat you can just pull in.”

The entrance hall has a vaulted ceiling with skylights, oak beams and a terra-cotta tile floor that runs through the hallways and kitchen. A powder room is in one corner.

Down a hall is a sitting room with two large windows and a log-burning stove inside an exposed brick fireplace. Next door, the dining room has a beamed and vaulted ceiling and a boxed bay window overlooking a side yard. Near the dining table, a metal rail tops a short wall, visually opening the dining room to the living room. (Access to the living room, however, is through the dining room’s double doors to an internal hallway and up a few steps.) The living room fireplace has a log-burning stove in a carved marble surround flanked by bookcases. A glass conservatory is at the far end of the room. Double glass doors open onto a terrace overlooking the garden and Bantry Bay.

In the country kitchen, a pot rack hangs over a center island with a bar sink and breakfast counter. A door opens to a paver patio for outdoor dining and a slate terrace with a water view. Steps lead up to the conservatory terrace.

Across the hall is a small study. Up an open staircase, there is an attic with a den, a large picture window overlooking the bay and a bathroom.

The bedrooms, all en suite and carpeted, are on the main floor. The primary suite, with a walk-in closet and beamed ceiling, opens through sliding doors to a covered front porch. The other two bedrooms have bay views; one also has sliding doors to the kitchen patio.

The house is a short walk from Glengarriff’s pubs, restaurants and shops, and a hotel and local national school. Also nearby are the nine-hole Glengarriff Golf Club and the Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve. Garnish Island, with its walled gardens and an old military tower, is a quick boat ride away. Cork International Airport is about an hour and a half from the house, while the drive to Dublin takes about four hours.

The country market in Ireland was “pretty quiet” before the coronavirus pandemic, Ms. De Vere Hunt said, with workers living near their offices in Dublin, Limerick and other cities.

After the lockdown, “it was like rocket fuel added to the property market,” said Maeve McCarthy, the director at Charles McCarthy Estate Agents, an affiliate of Mayfair International Realty, in West Cork, a coastal municipality in County Cork. “That really opened up the property market here.”

People originally from the area moved back from Dublin or Limerick to work remotely. “Wi-Fi, home offices, all of that worked for people,” Ms. De Vere Hunt said. “That is the dream. You get the quality of life with your children. Go fishing for lunch, go for a walk and ride your horse rather than sitting in two hours of traffic. ”

Kinsale, a historic port and yachting town of about 5,000 residents in County Cork, with colorful galleries and a Michelin-starred restaurant, is among the most desirable (and most expensive) places for buyers without local ties. Prices for waterfront property can reach 5 million euros, said Catherine McAuliffe, director of Cork residential at Savills Ireland. (The euro, which has fallen to its lowest level in years, is currently exchanging at roughly an equal rate with the U.S. dollar.)

Near Dublin, the seaside resorts of Dalkey and Howth are also coveted, said Guy Craigie, director of residential for Knight Frank Ireland. In County Kerry, near Cork, the rural area known as the Ring of Kerry is popular.

Compared with London or New York, buying in Ireland “is easy and economical,” Mr. Craigie said, noting that the average price per square foot was $500 to $600, going up to $1,000 a square foot at the high end, and $300 to $350 a square foot in the country market. Thanks to the lower density of people — the Dublin metro area, for instance, has about 1.5 million residents — “It is a much better value,” he said.

Ireland does, however, have a “Covid-related supply issue,” Mr. Craigie said, with construction delays and a spike in 2021 sales leaving a scarcity of available homes. According to the Central Statistics Office of Ireland, the number of homes sold fell from 5,706 in July 2021 to 4,182 in July 2022, about a 27 percent drop, while the average home price rose from 286,928 euros to 341,914 euros during the same period, up about 19 percent.

Prices for country homes depend on location, land and proximity to the coast. According to the statistics office, the average home price in County Cork in July was 311,216 euros, an increase of about 35 percent over the past two years. In West Cork, one might pay around $1.2 million for a period property without a water view, and $3.6 million for a refurbished Georgian waterfront residence built in 1760, Ms. McCarthy said.

Agents said low property taxes, safety and a temperate microclimate were also drawing buyers to the area. During Europe’s heat wave this summer, the temperature in West Cork never exceeded 79 degrees Fahrenheit, Ms. McCarthy said.

“Here, it is still relatively safe,” Ms. De Vere Hunt said. “You can get on your bicycle and cycle on the road. And you can walk.”

Fueled in part by the strong dollar, Americans “have been coming in droves” for the past six to eight months, Ms. McCarthy said, particularly in the million-dollar-plus market for “people who have an Irish background — and people who don’t, but like the idea of living in Ireland.”

Ms. McCarthy noted an influx of “mainly Irish expats living in London, Singapore, Asia or Australia,” with many working in finance or fintech.

Mr. Craigie said that 12 and 15 percent of his annual sales were to international buyers, with an uptick from Britain since Brexit. His buyers also come from Germany, Italy and France, with a more recent surge from Hong Kong and China.

Before buying a home in Ireland, one must obtain an Irish P.P.S. tax identification number, similar to a Social Security number. The application is submitted in person, Ms. McCarthy said.

A 5 percent deposit is usually required to secure a property and take it off the market. Once due diligence is completed, another 5 percent is due upon signing a contract drawn up by the seller’s lawyer, Ms. McCarthy said.

Residential closing costs include a stamp duty of 1 percent of the purchase price for residences up to $1 million and up to one acre of land, and 2 percent on more significant properties. Agricultural or commerce properties carry a 7.5 percent stamp duty, Ms. McCarthy said. Legal fees range from 1 to 1.5 percent.

Getting a mortgage is more complicated for foreigners than it is for local buyers. “Most international buyers pay cash,” Mr. Craigie said.

The Ireland Immigrant Investor Program, established in 2012, allows buyers from outside the European Economic Area with a personal net worth of at least 2 million euros to secure residency status in exchange for investing in the Irish economy. (Russian citizens were banned from applying as of March.)

English; euro (1 euro = $0.96)

Annual property taxes on the Courtyard house are about 1,200 euros.

Roseanne De Vere Hunt, Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes Farms and Estates, 011-353-87-412-2356.

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