Amara walker February 27, 2024

Buying or building? That's the big question many people in Ireland face when looking for a new home. Do you go for an existing house or construct your own? Both options have pros and cons that impact your budget.

We'll look at the upfront and hidden costs of purchasing an established property versus building from scratch. What budgeting considerations do you need to account for with each?

Understanding these financial factors will empower you to choose what's right for your unique circumstances. Whether you're leaning towards turnkey or new construction, you'll find insights here to guide your home hunting in Ireland in line with your budget goals.

Overview of the Irish Property Market

Buying an existing home in Ireland will cost you around €250,000 on average. However, prices range from €170,000 in Leitrim to over €500,000 in Dublin. Building a new home averages €330,000 nationwide. But you may pay €230,000 or less in rural counties. Or up to €500,000 and beyond in the capital.

Regional variation is key when weighing up your options. Property prices in Dublin continue rising fastest. But other cities are catching up. Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford all saw double-digit growth last year.

  • Rural homes cost much less to buy or build.
  • Urban properties carry premium price tags.

New builds beat resale homes on price in half of Ireland's counties. Second-hand stock costs more in cities and surrounding areas. But the building is pricier in many rural locales. The location also impacts the overall budget. Research carefully in your desired area.

Always inspect current trends when deciding between buying and building. Prices fluctuate across Ireland's regions.

The Cost of Buying a Home

Purchasing an existing property comes with upfront expenses. The sale price itself averages €250,000 nationwide. Then you pay stamp duty, typically 1-2% of the value. Legal fees average €1,000-€1,500. If getting a mortgage, valuation and application fees apply, too.

Minor fixes like paint and appliances may be needed. Total upfront costs run €10,000-€20,000 on top of the purchase price.

Ongoing costs include mortgage payments, maintenance and repairs. But buying has perks like moving in faster. And you skip the process of designing and building from scratch. Homes in turnkey condition let you settle right in. If your budget is tight, smart money loans in Ireland can cover some upfront costs.

Buying also avoids lengthy construction waits. And you can view the property before purchasing, limiting surprises. Handy buyers may renovate an existing home over time. But strategic updates get you moved in quickly.

With second-hand homes, convenience and speed come at the cost of premium prices in many markets. Still, buying appeals when you value immediacy.

The Cost of Building a Home

Constructing a new home starts with buying land. Prices range widely based on location. Next, architect and contractor fees cost €30,000-€60,000. Drafting plans and securing permits follow, with a budget of €5,000-€10,000.

  • Construction phase fees
  • Permit and planning costs

The build itself incurs material and labour expenses. From foundations to fittings, expect €1,500-€2,000 per square metre. A 200 square metre house costs €300,000-€400,000.

Government grants like the Help to Buy scheme offer €30,000 back after construction.

Unexpected overages crop up, too. If the budget feels tight, money lenders in Ireland provide construction loans. These bridge financing gaps.

Total costs often exceed €330,000 for a modest home. But you gain custom designs and new construction quality. With meticulous planning, building from scratch controls layout and finishes.

Timelines average 10-14 months after the land purchase. Building takes patience but pays off for homeowners wanting personalised spaces. Incentives offset some fees as well. With diligent budgeting, the building achieves the dream homes that are not found in the existing market.

Budget Considerations

Your current finances and long-term plans should guide decisions. Buying costs less upfront but may have higher interest rates. Building requires a major initial investment but offers stability later.

  • Weigh upfront vs long-term costs
  • Account for taxes and interest

Crunch all the numbers for both scenarios. Calculate total spending over 5-10 years, including mortgage payments. This helps compare apples to apples. Budget diligently for all fees when buying. But leave 10-15% wiggle room when building.

Construction overages happen. A contingency reserve prevents mid-project loans. Also, factor in maintenance for resale homes. New builds have fewer surprises. Always leave savings to cover emergencies, too.

Home buying taps current funds. Building requires smart borrowing that fits timelines. Different paths match different budgets. Define must-haves, compare total outlays, and choose what works for your wallet. Planning reduces budget shocks. Ask experts to help run the numbers so you see the full monetary picture.

Timeframe and Lifestyle Factors

Buying means you can move in fast, usually within 1-2 months. Building takes at least 10-14 months after getting permits and designs done. Think about when you need to move.

  • Buying allows faster occupancy
  • Building takes more time upfront

Home loans for buying happen quickly. Construction approvals slow things down. If you need to move ASAP, buying is best. Also, consider your personality. Some like a ready-made home they can move into fast. Others love custom designing their perfect space. Building requires patience but lets you create your dream home.

Talk timeline as a couple if deciding together. Think about future plans, too, like having kids or retiring. Know what things you can be flexible on. Could you handle a fixer-upper and redo things slowly? Or is starting totally from scratch worth waiting for? There's no one right option - just what suits your life.


When deciding between buying or building a home in Ireland, there's a lot to weigh up. We've explored key financial factors like deposit requirements, mortgage costs, construction expenses, and more.

While pre-owned properties may have lower upfront fees, new builds allow you to customise to suit your needs. There's no universally "right" choice - the best option depends on your budget, goals, and personal taste. Take time to thoroughly research all facets and decide what aligns best with your financial situation. Costs can spiral quickly, so vigilance is vital. With smart planning and number crunching, you can make the ideal home-buying decision in Ireland. The perfect property for you is out there; now go find it with your budget needs in mind!