In the unlikely event that you missed it, on the front page of a major national newspaper today was a picture of two ladies in deck chairs waiting at a builder’s fence. They were queueing to buy houses.
Megan O'Shaughnessy and Shantelle Farrell set up camp yesterday to get themselves at the top of the queue for new houses that will go on sale this weekend. By the time Sherry Fitzgerald opens the gates on Saturday, they’ll have been camping on the concrete for at least three days. Their story has now officially gone bananas.
They’re not alone anymore either. Since hitting the headlines, Megan and Shantelle have been joined by more hopeful house buyers according to social media experts at bonkers.ie. And the newbies seem prepared to camp out to buy these houses too.
The development is called Millers Glen, it’s just outside Swords and there are sixty houses up for sale on Saturday. With all the print publicity, broadcast attention and online chatter, Sherry Fitz must be rubbing their hands together with glee. And it's looking like they’ll probably flog all sixty houses this weekend no bother.
The word on social media is that this whole thing is a publicity stunt and that Shantelle and Megan are shills for the developer – which would make a very good follow-up piece for the journalists that brought this story to our attention today. Will Megan and Shantelle actually have the keys to a house when the dust has settled on Saturday afternoon?
Either way, this kind of publicity is the stuff dreams are made of. Especially when you consider that around €18 million worth of housing stock is up for sale. And let’s say Sherry Fitzgerald is into it for just 1.5% commission? Well, that’s a pretty cool quarter million for an afternoon’s work. Not bad at all.
The whole thing looks like a throwback to the manic frenzy of the early 2000’s. These houses have even built by Gerry Gannon who was one of boom’s big developers – and get this, he’s got permission to build something like 1,400 more!
In fairness, there's a bit of a difference between the crazy days and today though. This development has been funded by NAMA and they’re fixing the prices – for this stage of the development at least. So remember the way you’d buy an apartment (like we did) for €250,000 and the next fella in the queue would be charged €275,000 for an identical one just because the builder could get away with it? Well, apparently that won’t be happening here. The prices are the prices and that’s that.
Which could make another very interesting follow-up. Will the next batch of houses in this development be flogged off at higher prices? Well, I’m betting they will.
There’s also a ban on buy-to-let buyers. Apparently these houses are for real people who’ll actually live in them – not the cash-buying, landlording, gazumping types that we’ve been hearing so much about recently.
The houses are also built to the new regs that came in earlier this year which actually means that they are bigger than the boom houses we’re used to. They are also warmer and have A ratings. I’ve even seen hot water heating tubes in the pictures which is quite something from an Irish developer.
All things considered, it looks like a clean deal. Which I suppose explains the queues.
This just in - our analysts tell us that the comments have been turned off on the Irish Times version of this story. Conspiracy theorists are having lots of fun with this on social media as Myhome.ie is owned by the Irish Times and you can probably guess where that's going.