I'm a US citizen and I'll be working in Dublin for the next handful of years with a green card. I'm wondering if someone can give me a quick-and-dirty guide to buying a house here.
First - is it even an option? Can I legally own property if I'm not a citizen? Secondly, would my credit score back in the US have anything to do with getting a mortgage here; I would need to borrow money in order to purchase a place.
Finally, what are the taxes like with home ownership? In the US - it's a tax savings; your mortgage interest is tax deductible. Is it similar here?
I've got a lot of research to do, but I figured someone here might know this stuff.
With the way the irish housing market is right now, if you are only here for a few years I would not be looking to buy.
What area of Dublin would you be working in / looking to live?
credit score in US - no, I don't believe the banks here have access to that system.
Mortgage interest relief - at present, although the relief is being phased out.
Borrowing - stable job and deposit an absolute pre requisite to mortgage.
Handful of years? given present outlook for property market you will be very unlikely to make money on this transaction, and with great uncertainty about the liquidity of your asset, I'd say rent.
There are no property ownership restrictions for foreign citizens in Ireland.
Irish banks use their own credit scoring system, it's run by the ICB, so your American score is likely to be useless.
Ireland is currently in a prolonged property crash (prices have been falling by the low-teens since 2007) and our banking system is now basically on European life-support. Given that many Irish people simply cannot get a mortgage, I think it's going to be even more difficult for someone in your more complicated situation. If you were to have any hope, you will need a 20-25% deposit at least, have proof of employment/savings for the last two years and proof of your current job and income. Even then, the bank might just refuse you credit because your situation wouldn't be the norm. Anecdotally, I have heard that the following banks are providing any kind of decent financing. AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, and National Irish Bank. If those institutions are not willing to talk to you, then I think you can completely forget about the notion of buying in Ireland until you are here at least two years and have built up some kind of financial history.
A lower rate will apply from after 2011.
Any mortgage taken out after 2012 will not qualify for any mortgage interest rate relief.
There is currently no tax on owner-occupied property. Landlords and second properties need to pay €200/year/unit. However, from next year owner-occupiers wil pay €100/year/unit and that will then likely be changed to a property or site valuation tax in following years. That is likely to drive property values down further. For comparision commercial properties pay about 25% of rent as council taxes - while it may not reach that level, the country is broke.
However, you will have to pay for certain council services and utilities - garbage (choice of operator, pricing varies), water (tends to be rural only) aswell as the usual power, TV (mandatory TV licence €160) & communications. District heating is rare here and air conditioning isn't really needed. All cars need to be taxed when on a public road.
Property purchases are subject to a 1% stamp duty (likely to rise or be restructured when the property market recovers).
As mentioned, mortgage interest relief is being withdrawn. Again that is likely to drive property values down further.
If you are being redeployed by your employer, you can write off some of your moving expenses.
Have a look at these threads to see what people are spending money on: http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056399233
Legally there's no problem you buying a house but your mortgage lender might require you to have a long-term immigration status (Stamp 4).