Belfast house hunters queue overnight to buy new luxury homes
Queues outside estate agents have been a rare sight in Belfast since the property crash - but house hunters were back on the street late last night.
Waiting overnight on the Lisburn Road for the chance to own a new build property in Belfast were five hopefuls who set up camp yesterday outside Simon Brien estate agents.
The new development by Braidwater is all about location, with three and four-bedroom homes just off the Ballygowan Road, giving new owners an enviable mix of affordable luxury living and quick access to the city centre. Ranging from £210,000 to £285,000, just 12 homes are available in the scheme's first phase.
Aaron Bunting (33) from Ballygowan was first in line yesterday, and had already been there since 12pm. Along with his partner Stacey Campbell and his five children, he's hoping to find his dream home.
"I've been looking for new houses around Belfast for months and just by chance this one came up," he said.
"The one I'm looking at would be about £235,000. It's been a very long time since there's been new builds in Belfast.
"I've five kids so it's all about getting back into Belfast for them. The house we have at the moment just isn't big enough."
The developer said that "few places deliver such an ideal semi-rural location within an area where the vibrant metropolitan landscape of south east Belfast merges into the quiet calm of the Co Down countryside".
Nearby amenities include regular city centre bus links, the "cuisine heartland" of Ballyhackamore and Forestside Shopping Centre. Gary Curry (22) was camping out for his older sister and her partner.
"We've had people camping out in shifts since 2pm," he said.
"It's a while before I get my own house so it's all new to me, but hopefully we get to come and stay and get a good dinner out of it!"
Another woman from Belfast, who preferred not to be named, said she already knew which house she wanted and couldn't let the chance slip through her fingers.
"This is very rare, to get new builds in Belfast that are affordable. I've been looking for quite a while and haven't seen anything else I'm prepared to sit out overnight for," she said.
"I really want a new build - if you snooze, you lose."
Gareth Lammey (21) was another recruit for an older sibling, holding his sister's place in line until she returns from holiday.
"She's a first-time buyer, so she didn't want to miss the chance. I'm still at university myself so I've another few years to get into housing market," he said.
"If this is what it takes, though, I'm not sure I'd have the same dedication to look for a house.
"I'm hoping my sister's going to come and let me away by 3am. I think it's only fair, though, that she sets aside an extra bedroom for me in the new house."