Buyers queue for four days as property boom starts to bubble up in the city again
In scenes not even witnessed in the Celtic Tiger, eager house-hunters started queuing outside a new Dublin housing estate - four days before the homes go on sale.
Buyers set up camp outside Millers Glen in Swords at lunchtime on Tuesday as soon as news broke that 53 new houses were going on sale this Saturday.
The prospective buyers came equipped with camping chairs, gas hobs and flasks of tea for their sleepover at the building site.
And friends and family are helping the buyers by covering "shifts".
Elaine O'Shaughnessy's daughter Megan (23) is hoping to buy a house in the new development and when Megan finished up work yesterday morning she went straight to the queue without any sleep.
Megan's mum and boyfriend had covered the "shifts" on Tuesday afternoon and night.
Also in the Dublin queue is Shantelle Farrell (20) who hopes to secure one of the two-bedroom properties.
"She's been looking around since last year and she'd be heartbroken if she didn't get it. She has her heart set on this," said her mum, Laura Farrell.
A third member of the queue, Thomas Beveridge (22), is there on behalf of his friend who wants to buy a three-bedroom house in the development.
The houses in the estate, which were developed by Gannon Properties, are being sold by Sherry Fitzgerald and a director there said he has never seen anything on this scale.
"I'm 26 years working specifically in new homes and I've certainly never seen this in all that time, people queuing this far in advance," said Ronan O'Driscoll, Director of New Homes in the estate agency.
There are 53 houses for sale in total in Millers Glen and there are seven more which are being kept as show houses.
"There is only planning for 60 houses but there's enough land for 1,000," stated Mr O'Driscoll.
The two-bedroomed homes are priced from €239,950, the three-bedroomed ones are between €279,950 and €289,950 and the eight four-bedroomed detached houses are priced from €399,950.
Mr O'Driscoll told the Herald that there will be "no gazumping" with these houses.
"We won't be having any bidding. The prices are the prices," he said.
When asked if the queuing was the sign of another boom Mr O'Driscoll said it was symptomatic of "under-supply".
"It's absolutely under-supply. There's a huge shortage," he said.
"The queuing is a perfect illustration of the shortage of houses. It doesn't feel like a boom like the last time though. This is different - it's a supply crisis."
Property professionals are certainly noticing a huge turnaround in the industry, but are being cautious about calling it a bubble.
"Many people are asking if this is a bubble. I do not know the answer. If lending activity does not increase it will likely be a bubble," said Robert Hoban, Director of Auctions at Allsop Space.
And the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), believes that if the current supply problem is not tackled, queues like this will continue right around the country.
Tom Parlon, Director General, of CIF and former Laois-Offaly TD said he was not surprised by the scenes in Swords and said more funding needs to be made available for building and planning needs to be looked at also.
"Until these issues are tackled, unfortunately the sight of families queuing overnight to buy a home will be commonplace," said Mr Parlon.