House-hunters camp out in bid to snap up new properties in Tyrone
Would-be homeowners have been queuing since Tuesday outside a Co Tyrone estate agents in a bid to snap up newly-built properties.
The desperate buyers have been camping out overnight to be at the top of the line when the new homes go on sale this morning on a first come, first served basis.
New-build developments in Cookstown are so rare that two showhouse weekends attracted some 250 people for only seven homes.
Prices start at £119,995 for a three-bedroom townhouse and go up to £138,950 for a three-bedroom semi-detached house.
The competition is so fierce that Rory McMullan and his wife Shauna camped outside for two-and-a-half days.
The parents of 13-week-old baby Cahir were the first in line of four potential buyers.
Rory explained the couple have been swapping shifts to allow the other to catch up on sleep.
"It's been tough enough so I will be glad to see the doors opening in the morning," he said.
"I've been staying awake during the night and everyone else is here so we have just been talking.
"It's the first time in a long while that there are new-builds in Cookstown and they are in a really nice location.
"We live close by to them and they're all a really nice finish so we couldn't pass them."
The sales representative took a few days off work and unrolled his sleeping bag outside Stanley Best Estate Agents.
He said: "I heard through word of mouth and the estate agent that there was a massive interest in them. That led me to sit here as we didn't want anyone else in front of us.
"We have sold our own home and we're living in temporary accommodation so as soon as the house is ready we will move in."
David Best, a partner in Stanley Best Estate Agents, said the demand for the new homes has been "very high".
"The last time we had people queuing outside was in 2002," he said.
"We have been quietly marketing these properties for some time now and the interest has been quite exceptional. We carried out two showhouse weekends and gave out over 250 brochures and site plans.
"The demand for new homes in Cookstown is very high at the moment.
"We feel this is a good time for first-time buyers to get on the property market and second-time buyers to grow into bigger and better homes but the amount of new homes in Cookstown is very low.
"This is due to very few developers developing ground that they have retained and even less ground being available for new developers to purchase and develop within the town boundary.
"This will help give confidence to builders and developers to hopefully continue building in Cookstown and we may see a few more new homes around Cookstown in the coming years."