For a lot of people living in Ireland, considering the cost of living never really crosses their mind. They pay rent, buy groceries and live their lives. The price of all of it is just that, the price. For others who haven’t grown up here or have traveled outside the country, the everyday price of living is more prevalent. Compared to most European countries, and many countries around the world, Ireland is a very expensive place to live.
The European Union (EU) has a lot of cheap places to live nevertheless, such as Bulgaria and Poland. In order to find out how cheap or expensive, we look at the Cost of Living Index. Based off of Prague, which is the central reference city, we can statistically see just how expensive certain countries are to live in. Both Bulgaria and Poland received scores hovering around 80. This means its 20% less expensive to live in those two countries than the average in the EU. Ireland and specifically Dublin received a score of 202! This translates to a cost of living 102% higher than the EU average. This score takes into consideration all aspects of living like food prices, the price of gas, and housing prices to name a few.
While looking solely at the price of housing, we see that Ireland is 56.7% above the EU average according to Eurostat. In addition, mortgage rates for Ireland due to low home repossession levels and small market size, are very high. Like anywhere however it depends on the brokers and current economy. The average in the Euro area is about 1.7% (which does vary wildly across countries), while the Irish rate is steady around 3-3.5%.
So now the question remains; For someone on a budget, where would be the best place to settle down? The average rent in Ireland is usually a little over €1,100 a month. If you decide to live in the capital, expect to pay anywhere from €1,400 to upwards of €1,800(for a one bedroom)! If you decide to buy in Dublin however, the average price is right around €720,639. On the other side of the spectrum, Leitrim is consistently one of the cheapest places to rent (roughly €500 a month), as well as to buy (€58,000 for a three-bed semi). However, cheap places to live such as Leitrim, Donegal, Cavan, and Laois are all relatively far from major cities such as Dublin or Galway. So, the trade off for price lies in the location. If you work in the city, the closer and closer you get, the more expensive housing your housing will be.
The EU can be a very expensive place to live, particularly in Ireland. What you pay for housing greatly varies per region. Living in the fertile lands of Leitrim won’t break the bank. Yet working in Dublin or Galway might take away from your weekend spending money. It all depends on your budget, what you want in a home, and if you decide to buy or rent. One thing to keep in mind however, Ireland is an island with a relatively low population! It cost more to ship goods out here and thus the price of everyday items can seem a bit pricier than other places around the world.