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Monday 19 March 2018

'In today's climate this is what it takes' - Desperate families camp out in cars to secure home

House hunters queue for three days at north-Dublin site

Liam Kelly after he secured a home at St Marnock’s Bay, Portmarnock. Photos: Caroline Quinn
Liam Kelly after he secured a home at St Marnock’s Bay, Portmarnock. Photos: Caroline Quinn

Ian Begley

Families were prepared to spend all week sleeping in their car in a bid to get on the property ladder in a north-Dublin development.

Liam Kelly and his girlfriend Ruth were just two of many desperate house hunters queuing for over three days in St Marnock's Bay, Portmarnock.

The Ballymore development was originally not due to be launched on the market until this Saturday, but the properties went on sale yesterday morning. They range from a mix of three- and four-bedroom houses, valued between €460,000 and €665,000.

Mr Kelly, from Portmarnock, said that the long wait was a gruelling but necessary process.

"We started lining up in our car on Friday afternoon and gradually more and more people followed suit," he told the Irish Independent. "Obviously, it was a pain, but I suppose in today's climate this is what it takes when buying a house. It wasn't all bad though, as we had the opportunity to get to know our future neighbours and have a bit of craic with them."

The long wait was not in vain for the young couple, who managed to secure one of the three-bedroom houses yesterday morning.

New homes at St Marnock’s Bay, Portmarnock. Photos: Caroline Quinn
New homes at St Marnock’s Bay, Portmarnock. Photos: Caroline Quinn

"We were actually prepared to wait here until Saturday, but it feels great knowing that our search for a home is finally over," Mr Kelly added. "Our twin daughters are turning one on Christmas Day and spending the holidays in our new home will be a massive relief."

Another couple who spent two nights queuing in the coastal estate said those already living at St Marnock's Bay were very hospitable.

"Those who bought houses here in the first phase were all really nice to us throughout our stay," said a man currently living in Sandymount.

"When they saw us queuing up, they came out with tea and sandwiches and allowed us to use their bathrooms.

"They must have sympathised with us, as they were in the exact same boat earlier this year," he said.

A mother, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she managed to secure a property without having to wait at all.

"I just came up today with my daughter and noticed that most of the cars that were here over the past few days were gone.

"When I arrived to inspect the developments, I was told that there were more left and was then given a number. I was delighted that I didn't have to wait, but I suppose many people can't take the risk since it's first come, first served," she said.

There are a total of 101 houses in St Marnock's Bay, with 25 up for grabs in the current phase.

Those intending to buy have to pay a €10,000 deposit, along with an additional 10pc on whatever the house is worth.

An IT worker living on Dublin's northside said he has been searching for a home for nearly two years.

"It's been such a stressful experience and I'm constantly taking time off work to view showhouses across the capital," he said. "I've been renting with my girlfriend for about three years while saving for a deposit, but even though we had enough it was still a huge struggle finding a place. Thank God we have now found a place we really like."

A spokesperson for estate agent Savills told the Irish Independent the company didn't like to see people spending long periods queuing for a home.

"It's definitely not something we would encourage, which we try to make very clear," he said.

"However, there is a supply imbalance in the market and queuing up for long periods is what many people feel is necessary in order to secure a home. Thankfully, many people that queued up here are satisfied with these houses and happy to put down a deposit. We'll have our official launch here on Saturday at 12pm and hope to sell the remainder of the houses by then."

Irish Independent

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