2022 was a bumper year for the prime country home market, according to Savills Ireland, with €198m worth of transactions taking place - the highest level since the Property Price Register was introduced in 2012.
Comparing last year with 2021, total transaction values increased by 48% from €134m to €198m. While the average deal value remained at approximately €1.5m, the increase was driven by more transactions taking place in 2022, with 130 compared with 86 in 2021.
Among the sales concluded in 2022 were a pair of Co Meath properties - the 152ac Primrose Park Farm, Greenogue, Kilsallaghan, which sold for €4.1m, and the 182ac Parkstown House, Ballivor, which at €17,300/ac made over €3.1m.
Prime country home transactions, which are defined as transactions greater than €1m and located outside of Dublin, the major regional cities, and north Wicklow.
Head of country agency at Savills Ireland James Butler said: “Prime country homes continue to be in strong demand, as remote or flexible working is now a viable working pattern for many.
"Furthermore, buyers in this segment of the market are likely to be in more senior positions, so are granted more flexibility in how they allocate time between the office and working from home.
"Changes to where and how people work have made country living more viable for these more established workers who may not be required to be in the office all the time.
"This helps explain the extraordinary boost in sales volumes witnessed in 2022 and is likely to be a feature of the prime country homes market this year and beyond.”
Cork county is the most popular location in Savills analysis of prime country home transactions, making up 28% of all purchases, with the town of Kinsale being its most popular destination, making up 9% of transactions.
The second, third and fourth most popular locations were Kildare (14%), Wicklow (13%) and Waterford (8%).
Higher interest rates may affect affordability, but the prime country home market should be relatively well-shielded, as cash purchases make up the majority of purchases.
In 2022, 90% of buyers in this market segment acquired properties without financing agreements.
International buyers accounted for 43% of deals and it was noted that Co Kerry has been a very popular destination, where buyers from US and Germany have been extremely active.
James commented: “International buyers remain a key cohort for the country homes market and US buyers may increase their presence. The strong dollar, which effectively discounts prices paid in euros, is a factor that may encourage buyers to purchase and boost sales in 2023.”