The cost of living in Ireland is comparable to the UK, France and Germany, however this varies according to area. Dublin is the most expensive area to live and was ranked the 49th most expensive city of 207 cities surveyed by Mercer (2015). The cost of living in Ireland decreases the further you are from Dublin and can be considerably lower in rural areas. Accommodation takes the largest chunk of salaries, which are higher than average - around €2,284 (£1,699) per month after tax - compared to many other European countries.
Ireland is traditionally a nation of homeowners with a relatively small rental market. Therefore, finding a rental property in Ireland can be difficult, with desirable properties being snapped up quickly, particularly in Dublin. The cost of renting can be very expensive in Ireland, where a one-bed apartment in Dublin city centre will set you back from around €1,000 (£744) to €1,700 (£1264) per month. Rents outside Dublin are only marginally less. The best way for expats to find accommodation in Ireland is through a letting agent, such as My Home but beware that you may be charged an administration fee on top of the rent.
There are no restrictions on non-Irish nationals wishing to buy a property in Ireland. However, buyers must consider the extra fees and charges (stamp duty, legal and registration fees) involved in purchasing a property. Since the economic crisis of 2008, property prices have fallen dramatically but there remains a distinct shortage of affordable homes, so it’s a good idea to rent first before jumping in.
Landlords usually require a rental deposit of one to two month’s rent in Ireland. The deposit acts as security against damage to the property and is refunded when the tenant leaves. Letting agencies may also charge an administration fee on top of the deposit.
An annual Local Property Tax (LPT) was introduced in Ireland in 2013. All owners of residential property, including rental properties, are liable to pay the tax, which is calculated according to the market value of the property. The standard rate of LPT is 18%, which equates to an annual payment ranging from €90 (£66.95) for properties under €100,000 up to €1,755 (£1,305) in the higher value band (properties between €900,000 and €1m in value).
Utilities in Ireland include electricity, gas, water and waste removal and are known as ‘the bills’. The Electricity Supply Board is the largest electricity provider. A more competitive market has been created through the recent emergence of other smaller providers, however electricity prices in Ireland are high in comparison to other European countries. Gas is comparably cheaper and provided by the partially state-run Ervia (previously Gas Board). Water rates are a contentious issue in Ireland as, before 2009, water was provided free of charge. Households are now billed for water consumption by the newly-established Irish Water. Domestic refuse removal and recycling is charged annually and rates depend on the local authority providing the service.
The cost of basic utilities for an 85m² apartment in Ireland is around €150 (£111.57) per month. A TV/Broadband Internet/phone package ranges from around €35 (£26) to €60 (44.64) per month.
All television owners must pay a yearly licence fee in Ireland. The fee contributes to the running of Ireland’s public broadcaster RTE. The current cost of a television licence is €160 (£119).
Healthcare and medical costs
The healthcare system in Ireland is modern and efficient. All Irish citizens are entitled to free healthcare, which is managed by the Health Service Executive. Healthcare costs are funded through general taxation, although residents on a median-level income and above are liable to pay extra medical charges (such as for prescription medicine). Those on a low income can apply for a Medical Card which grants free access to GP services, prescription medicine and dental, optical and aural services. If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss national, or if you are normally resident in Ireland, you are entitled to receive the same level of free healthcare as Irish citizens. For more information about free healthcare in Ireland, consult the Citizens Information service. Those from outside the EU will need to have a private health insurance policy until Irish residency status is granted.
The choice of shopping in Ireland is huge, with large chain department stores, such as Arnotts and smaller shopping outlets in rural areas. There are also a number of large shopping malls such as the St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre in Dublin. For grocery shopping, Ireland has a wide range of supermarket chains such as Tesco Ireland, Dunnes Stores and SuperValu, as well as budget chains such as Aldi and Lidl.
Value Added Tax (VAT) is charged on most goods and services in Ireland. The current rate is 23%.
- Rent 1-bedroom apartment in city centre – €1,014.51 (£747.15)
- Rent 1-bedroom apartment outside city centre – €851.73 (£627.26)
- Price of apartment per square metre in city centre – €4,812.69 (£3,544.33)
- Price of apartment per square metre outside city centre – €3,186.70 (£2,346)
- Loaf of bread – €1.44 (£1.06)
- Milk (1 litre) – €1.05 (£0.78)
- Bottled water (1.5 litre) – €1.30 (£0.96)
- Draught beer (0.5 litre) – €2.48 (£1.95)
- Packet of cigarettes – €10.00 (£7.36)
- Petrol (1 litre) – €1.37 (£1.01)
- Cinema ticket – €10.00 (£7.36)
Source: www.numbeo.com (accessed January 2016)
Budgeting and Savings
Ireland has a number of price comparison and money advice services to help you switch and save. The most popular are Bonkers and Compare Ireland. The Citizens Advice Service also has a useful budgeting tool and information about taxation, pensions and salaries.