So rare are new-build developments in Cookstown, that a group of people have started queueing outside an estate agents three days before the release of seven new homes.
The young people, who all want to settle in the town, said the reason for their decision to camp-out until 10am on Friday at Stanley Best’s is because the homes will be sold on a first come, first served basis.
And they want to make sure they get one of the £119-£138k homes, as so few new developments are being built.
Asked if it was normal for people to queue up for days to buy a new house, a spokesperson for Stanley Best Estate Agents said: “Yes, for a new development it is.”
But added, that in her two years with the company, it is first time she has witnessed it.
“We did show houses there over the last two weekends and there was a very high level of interest, so I think that’s why people are like ‘we need to queue’.
“We only have seven to sell, and there was so many people there.
“There isn’t that many new developments in Cookstown, you’ve got a lot more in the likes of Magherafelt, but Cookstown is such a popular area, so people have gone mad for them. If I was going to buy a house, I would buy one.”
Those in the queue for homes in the new Westfort development on Westland Road South all had a similar story to tell.
A young mum, who was first in line, said she and her husband started camping out on Tuesday night because her young family wants to climb the housing ladder.
“Me and my husband camped out last night just to make sure we are first,” said Mrs McMullan. “You have to have £1,000 deposit, your ID and a decision in principle from the mortgage company.”
Asked why she had to take such drastic measures to get a new home in Cookstown, she added: “There’s very little for sale, very little housing. Stanley Best said this is the first time in a long time that houses have been built with demand.”
Others in the queue said they are either renting or still living at home with parents, but all were desperate to get on the housing ladder in the town in which they live. And they intend to camp on the street until Friday for the chance.