Woman camping out for chance to buy house: ‘I only queued like this before for Garth Brooks’

It sounded like a confused jazz act and it smelt like a calculated publicity stunt — but for the home-seekers camping out for the chance to buy a house of their own, this was serious business.

Woman camping out for chance to buy house: ‘I only queued like this before for Garth Brooks’

Sonia O’Driscoll arrived on Wednesday to join the queue outside the Miller’s Glen development in Swords, Co Dublin, the first phase of which goes on sale tomorrow amid scenes worryingly reminiscent of the last decade’s ultimately disastrous property bubble.

“We can’t let this chance pass. We’ve been looking for a good few months but it’s bidding wars everywhere you go with houses going for €40-€50,000 over the asking price,” said the 23-year-old civil servant who works in the Mater Hospital.

“We’re looking for a three-bed but only three of the ones being released on Saturday are at the €279,950 price that we can afford because they’re end-of-terrace. The others are €10,000 over that and the next phase, whenever they come along, will be God knows what price.”

Sonia came well-prepared with rain gear, sleeping bags, flasks, food and a sense of humour and was rewarded with a #3 spot in the queue but already it had come with a price.

“I’d say I slept about two hours last night and I’m dying for a shower. It’s disgraceful that it’s come to this. It’s so stressful for people who are first-time buyers. Hopefully it gives the builders the push to start building houses. If this doesn’t show them that people need houses, I don’t know what will.

“The only time I’ve queued before like this was for concert tickets. I camped out for my Garth Brooks tickets and we know what happened there. I’m hoping this has a better ending.”

Megan O’Shaughnessy, 23, and her fiance, Rob Delaney, who celebrated his 25th birthday in the queue yesterday, were also hoping for a happy ending as they were also looking for one of the coveted three-beds.

“We’re both living at home with our parents and we’ve been talking about getting a place of our own for about three years and saving like mad for the last year. We’re getting married in February so it would be lovely to have our own home to come back to,” said Megan, a manager with Penneys, who was first in the queue.

“We didn’t plan to queue but we were on to the estate agents on Tuesday and they said they were emailing 600 people about the houses being released this Saturday because they were all the people who enquired about them so I just thought, 600 people and there’s only three of the houses we want — we need to get down here.”

Shantelle Farrell, 20, number two in the queue, was also hoping for one of the end of terrace three-beds, and her friend Maria Kelly had popped down to lend some moral support.

“I was telling her she was mad at the start but she’s serious about this and I admire her for it. I couldn’t see me doing it but I’m looking forward to the housewarming. She says there’s a spare room for me so I’m happy.”

One person who wasn’t happy was a 21-year-old student who was queuing for a two-bed house on behalf of his parents and found the experience frustrating. “I never heard of people queuing to buy houses. I was too young to notice during the Celtic Tiger. It sounds farfetched until you see it, until you’re part of it. We’ve been looking all around north Dublin and it hasn’t been a good experience. There’s been ghost-bidding. You’re the only bidder all along and then suddenly there’s a ‘rival’ going €10,000 more. I don’t know what to believe.” He said when it comes to his time to buy for himself, he hopes to be a long way from Ireland.

“I have another two years in college but I’m hoping to move to Sweden after that. I couldn’t do this again. Something’s not right about it.”

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