First-time buyers in overnight queues

First-time buyers in overnight queues

7 February 2018

CAMP chairs, sleeping bags and hot flasks were the order of the day as eager first-time buyers queued through the night in Downpatrick at the weekend.

Newly engaged couples and a 30th birthday girl were among those setting up camp outside Alexander Reid and Frazer in the early hours of Sunday morning to snap up the first houses released for sale at the Saul Acres development on Saul Road.

Settling down for a 24-hour wait, they operated relays with family members, who offered an escape from the cold in waiting cars.

Staff from Alexander Reid and Frazer and Peter Fitzpatrick & Sons Estate Agents, which are joint agents for the new Saul Road development, were so concerned about their customers that they arrived at work at 6.45am on Monday to get them in out of the cold.

Seven out of the ten of the houses available in the first phase, which start at £140,000, were booked within minutes of the launch.

Ms Mary Lou Press, from Alexander Reid and Frazer, said the long queue reflected the growing demand for new homes in Downpatrick.

She said the first seven properties were snapped up by first-time buyers who were “delighted” their efforts had been worthwhile.

“Buyers are looking for new homes rather than resale properties,” she said. “We did not know whether there might be a better way to launch the houses rather than queueing outside, but they thought this was the best way forward. They could not have been happier.

Mrs Joleen McKinney, from Peter Fitzpatrick Estate Agents, said she was not surprised by the demand for the houses, considering the number of potential first-time buyers on the market.

“It has been a long time since there has been a new development of this size in Downpatrick and it is in a great location so demand will be high,” she said.

“It was great to see the interest but also concerning that they were out in the cold, so we tried to deal with it as fairly as we could.”