Sunday 26 January 2020

Clamour 'in crazy house market' has us back to bad old days

General view of new housing development 'Inglenook Wood' in Carrickmines, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of new housing development 'Inglenook Wood' in Carrickmines, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Kirsty Blake Knox and Ian Begley

Within an hour of the doors opening at the gleaming show house at new estate Inglenook Wood, Carrickmines, six of the 10 properties are sold.

One individual is rushing back with the €10,000 deposit while others are enquiring about six yet-to-be-built houses adjacent to the showhouse.

The development remains in a state of construction with scaffolding and upturned heaps of soil on site.

Demand is high; an agent says, one man arrived at the property at 8am - the doors opened at 5pm.

Prices for the three-storey semi-detached homes start at €675,000, and the flow of house hunters is constant.

Downsizers, young families, nosy neighbours from nearby estates all wander around the beautifully finished No.4.

Outside the front door a vintage coffee truck serves Americanos to house hunters.

Inside, there are four estate agents talking in hushed voices about parquet flooring and cushioned window seats.

An EBS mortgage master has set up shop in the kitchen, handing out brochures and business cards.

He is there to tell buyers with pre-approval letters about the special 2pc cash back they offer and encourage them to consider switching.

It's a very different set up, not to mention price point, to the Beechwood Heath in Hansfield where people camped overnight in the rain to ensure they were first through the door.

But the sense of fatigue and weariness is similar.

Most of the people have been searching for a new place to call home for months.

"The market is crazy," a young woman six weeks away from giving birth says.

"We have seen some lovely older houses but the prices have gone up so much during bidding wars. That's the beauty of the new build is the price is the price."

Another woman, Rachel Smith, has been deployed by her sister to check out the property.

"She couldn't get out of work on time so asked me to go," Rachel explains.

"The house is beautiful but everything is gone already and it's only been open an hour.

"It's tough out there," she says.

A solicitor who has been looking for six years says comparisons with the Celtic Tiger boom are almost obsolete as this time round there isn't a "gold rush", there's just a lack of housing.

"It's a limited stock which is why demand is so high," he says.

Couple Marilyn and Ciaran bought during the recession and are keen to find their 'forever home'.

Sadly, they didn't find it this evening.

"It's very hard," Marilyn says.

"Houses are being sold before they're built."

On the other side of the city, those who had queued for hours for one of the 24 homes at Beechwood Heath in Hansfield, Dublin 15, are also facing disappointment.

Newlyweds Martin Mooney and his wife did not secure a home despite having the €2,000 deposit ready and waiting outside in the rain from 7.30am.

"We're just going to try our luck in the next round and see what happens," he said.

"We're both working at the moment to it's very difficult to get time off to focus on house hunting.

"Fingers crossed it won't take too long because it's very stressful."

Irish Independent

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