Property generated up to €24bn in sales last year

2019 deal: The Marker Hotel in Dublin was bought by a German investment group

Donal Buckley

Up to €24bn is estimated to have been spent buying Irish property last year when the figures for sales of development land, farm land as well as commercial and residential properties are combined.

The residential sector accounted for most of the sales both in terms of numbers of deals as well as the value of those deals.

A survey by of the Property Price Register shows €17.88bn spent buying residential properties in 2019 - an increase of more than €1bn - compared with €16.84bn in 2018.

Dublin accounted for over half residential sales with 18,247 residential deals worth a combined €9.11bn. In Cork, 6,447 residential lots changed hands for a combined €1.7bn and in Kildare 3,385 sold for a total of €1.02bn.

Meanwhile, CBRE surveys show that a further €1bn was spent on development land. These agents also estimate that investment property deals exceeded €7.2bn. While most of those deals related to commercial properties, those figures also include bulk sales of residential property known as multi-family or PRS investments which CBRE estimate at €2bn. Most of that €2bn would also have been included in the figures.

A separate survey by Hooke and MacDonald estimates that PRS accounted for 42pc of the Dublin investment deals in 2019 with offices taking a 32pc share, retail a 10pc share and industrials an 8pc share of that investment market.

But those investment deals also understate the overall value of commercial properties that changed hands as they exclude vacant properties which were not generating rental income and those which may have sold between owner occupiers. They also exclude investment properties which sold for less than €1m.

They also would not have included hotels and pubs that were sold to operators. Cushman & Wakefield estimate that as many as 20 hotels sold for a total of €583m in 2019, which was a significant increase on the €98m of turnover achieved in 2018, and the second strongest year on record.

Up until the property crash hotel sales would not have featured among investment deals. Last year, institutional buyers included Deka Immobilien, a German real estate investment group, which bought The Marker, and French investor Convivio bought The Hilton Kilmainham for €45.5m.

Few if any of pubs were bought by investors. Morrissey Lisney estimate that 16 licensed premises sold in 2019 for about €57m, which was more than double the €23.26m spent buying Dublin pubs in 2018.

Meanwhile, the 'Farming Independent' reported that 88 agricultural land auctions generated €66.43m - a drop from 153 deals in 2018.

In addition, there were also private land sales for which figures have not been published.

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