An Ulster property developer is trying to drive house sales - by offering a brand new car to those who buy one of his properties.
Part-time property developer Nicholas Lestas will give a brand new Ford Ka - worth up to £5,000 - to anyone who buys one of three houses he has for sale.
The properties include two three-bedroom townhouses in Trinity Mews, Ahoghill, near Ballymena, Co Antrim, and a three-bedroom apartment in Irish Society Court in the centre of Coleraine.
The move follows what is becoming a trend among local developers to offer incentives in a bid to attract buyers to new build houses.
Co Antrim-based Armoy Homes recently offered a three-fold package of incentives for its turnkey properties in Cloughmills, Ballymoney and Castlerow, near Coleraine.
Armoy Homes will pick up the buyer's tab for stamp duty as well as putting £600 a month directly into their bank account towards their mortgage costs for 24 months, although the deal only applies to those who complete in six weeks.
But Mr Lestas says the free car offer, which is available to anyone who buys one of his houses, is a better long-term bonus for buyers.
"The issue for first-time buyers is ongoing monthly repayments. With a new car there shouldn't be any maintenance costs and you'll get a few years' driving before it needs any work," he said.
He said this was an opportunity to do something really appealing for house-hunters: "The second expense outside a property is a car loan which could add up to £300-£400 a month, or the maintenance of a car which can also be costly.
"I felt this was an opportunity for someone to have their second biggest monthly payment wiped clean," said Mr Lestas.
Once the sale is complete the home-owners go to Lindsay Cars in Coleraine and pick their brand new Ford Ka - although tax and insurance is not included in the deal.
And Mr Lestas says the move is a business one rather than a reaction to the changing house market here: "In my view things will have levelled out here by spring.
"I am not worried about the market. I totally expected it - I'm surprised it didn't come sooner."
The two townhouses are currently for sale with asking prices over £215,000 each, while the apartment is expected to sell for around £255,000.
Contact Richard O'Connor on 028 7032 2904 or 078 1256 6997 for further details.