The mad­ness of queu­ing to buy a house

Bray People - - OPINION - with Deborah Cole­man

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.

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