Market News & Insights
12 March 2018

The Cost of Living in Ireland

Whether you’re thinking about moving to Ireland for the first time, looking to relocate your business to Ireland or planning to retire to Ireland, it is a big step and there’s a lot you need to think about and take into consideration.

The 2017 Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranked Dublin 66th (out of 209) as the most expensive cities to live in. Compared to the cities in the UK, London took 29th place, Birmingham ranked 147th and Aberdeen 146th. According to Numbeo the world’s largest user contributed database about cities and countries across the globe, the cost of living in Ireland is 11.86% higher than living in the United Kingdom. However, according to ifitweremyhome, the average annual salary in Ireland pays 11% more than the average salary in the UK. Further research shows that the average annual earnings for full-time workers in Ireland sits at €36,919 (£32,583.20) (The Irish Examiner) and the average for full-time workers in the UK is £27,600 (€31,272.71) (Startus Magazine). This suggests that whilst living in Ireland costs more, the average salary pays more to stay in line with the increased costs.


The cost of living in London vs Dublin

While the overall cost of living in Ireland is more expensive than living in the UK, the cost of living in Dublin is 12% cheaper than living in London (Expatistan). Housing in London is 21% more expensive than housing in Dublin, with monthly rent and utilities such as heating and gas costing much more in the UK’s capital. Another aspect that makes Dublin a cheaper place to live in comparison to London is that you do not pay council tax there, and there is no need for a Television license. However, it is important to mention that groceries are 7% cheaper in London, with basic food items such as eggs, milk and potatoes costing much less, as shown in the table below.

Food London Dublin %
12 large eggs €3.52 €3.81 -8%
500g local cheese €5.55 €5.30 +5%
1 kg potatoes €0.98 €1.17 -17%
1 litre whole fat milk €1.08 €1.21 -11%

However, it could be argued that comparing the life in both London to Dublin is farcical as they are two completely different capitals. London is a huge city with a population of 8.788 million people, and when you compare this to Dublin with a population of 1.8 million (World Population Review), it is imperative to understand that the way of life in Dublin will be much slower and quite different to life in London. For example, driving through London is incredibly difficult – even more so when you compare it to driving easily around Dublin.


House prices in Ireland

Housing in Ireland is 8% more expensive than housing in the UK, but you do not pay council tax or TV licenses in Ireland. The financial crisis in 2008 hit Ireland very hard, but the property market has seen a lot of improvement since then, with prices rising by 5.4% in the third quarter of 2016. What’s more is that this astonishing growth of the Irish property bubble doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. If you’re looking to invest in property in Ireland, now is a great time to get on the ladder as you’re likely to see positive profit. Alongside this, it is important to remember that the average wage is higher in Ireland, aligning itself with this expense. The table below compares housing prices for both the UK and Ireland:

Housing Ireland UK %
2 bedroom flat in suburbs (monthly) £1,808 £1,863 -3%
2 bedroom flat in the city (monthly) £1,380 £1,211 +14%
Furnished studio in city (monthly) £1,263 £1,039 +22%
Furnished studio in suburbs (monthly) £884 £755 +17%


Cost of food prices in Ireland

According to the Irish Times, Ireland is now the second most expensive country in Europe when it comes to consumer services and goods – prices are estimated to be 125% above the EU average (this can be seen in the graph below). According to The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises, these prices, “reflect the inflated cost base that businesses here are subjected to”. There are many reasons as to why the cost of food and groceries in Ireland is more expensive than in the UK, due to the population of Ireland being much lower than the UK and many items being imported.

Food UK Ireland %
12 large eggs £3.40 £2.66 +28%
500g local cheese £4.73 £4.35 +11%
1 kg potatoes £1.04 £0.88 +19%
1 litre whole fat milk £1.06 £0.86 +23%


Cost of healthcare in Ireland

Everyone living legally in Ireland are entitled to free public health cover. However, there are the two categories – full eligibility for medical card and limited eligibility. You must apply for directly with the Health Services Executive. This means that the cost of healthcare in Ireland is dependant upon the specific circumstances of the individual in question.

One way to off set many of these costs initially is to get the best deal when transferring money to Ireland – and we can help you with us. With founders born in Ireland, we see the potential within the Emerald Isle and can help you if your aim is to send funds in and out of Ireland or even move there. We combine our foreign exchange expertise with a proactive approach to be our clients eyes and ears in the market. If you’re looking to move funds to and from Ireland and the rest of the world then contact us to find out how.