The madness of queuing to buy a house
JUST when we thought that all of the crazy happenings associated with the Celtic Tiger were long gone, we see that dozens of eager house byers queued for up to three days in the freezing cold last week to be in with a chance of buying a house in Portmarnock.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, that anyone would be willing to go to such lengths. They took shifts, ate slept and camped out in two degree weather so that they could have first dibs on properties that were selling for half a million Euro. I really thought we had seen the back of this sort of approach to house hunting, but given the severe shortage of property in the country at present, this is where we are.
I feel so sorry for young couples who have to resort to this sort of ridiculous queuing. To be competing with countless others buyers to hand over such a vast amount of money.
Buying a new home, particularly your first is a very special time and this, to me would just be a source of terrible stress. Imagine those poor suckers who didn’t get near a viewing and had to go away empty handed. It just doesn’t seem right. I think we have all too quickly forgotten the devastating effect the boom and bust had on many families. Those who also queued to purchase a home, perhaps off plans, without ever seeing the house finished first - at an inflated price, which in the following years left them in negative equity.
Those who are in negative equity and still working were considered to be the lucky ones while those whose mortgage payments became unaffordable were left in dire financial straights.
A generation of young couples are trapped in those houses now and will never be able to relocate - unless by some miracle they are in a position to take the financial hit and let it go.
We hear a lot of talk about social housing shortages and this is certainly the case, but there is also a severe lack of properties for those who wish to buy with a mortgage.
I’m sure these people in Portmarnock wouldn’t resort to three-day queuing if they felt they had plenty of options. If we are not careful, though, we are going to end up exactly where we started and once again deep in recession. Development will pick up to meet the demand and mortgages will be approved for whoever wants them. Let’s hope it is handled cautiously.
Househunters queue in the bitter cold to view new homes in Portmarnock, Co. Dublin.