SHOCKING scenes of people queuing overnight in cars to place deposits on homes are being described as “The Hunger Games for housing”.
Up to 100 cars were parked outside a new housing development in Ballincollig on Saturday, many of which had been there since the night before.
People slept overnight in at least 35 cars outside the Heathfield estate, such was the scramble to place deposits on the homes.
Local resident Ciara Kennedy, who is standing for the Labour Party in next month’s local elections, visited the people queuing.
“This was a competition at the end of the day,” said Ms Kennedy.
“It’s like The Hunger Games for housing. This shouldn’t be the route we have to go down. We used to queue for concert tickets; now we are queueing for our homes.”
This was the third phase of homes in the estate to be released for sale with the previous phases selling out.
“There was a sense of excitement from people at the prospect of buying their first home,” said Ms Kennedy.
“However, there was also a huge sense of disappointment about the way they had to do it. It was effectively a throwback to Celtic Tiger times. Nobody wants to go back to the way things were before.”
She described the situation as unacceptable.
“People are looking for a place to raise families,” said Ms Kennedy. “It’s not acceptable. We need to find a way of supporting them.”
Ms Kennedy underlined the urgent need for a new system.
“Adults are being forced to stay at home so they can save for a mortgage,” she said. “This only adds insult to injury. In an age where we have so much technology at our fingertips, there has to be a better way of doing this. An online queuing system should be made available for potential buyers.”
However, Ms Kennedy praised the Ballincollig community’s reaction to the situation.
“A father of one of the potential buyers told me that locals had been serving breakfast and coffee to people in their cars to keep their spirits up,” she said. “There was a lot of kindness shown by people in the community.”
House prices in Cork have increased by almost 60% since their lowest point in 2013. The average asking price for a home in Cork is now €226,728, with prices in city and suburban areas greatly exceeding this.
It was reported earlier this month that 700 people had registered their names on the Heathfield development’s website and that prices for homes in the estate increased by €5,000 since January.
Heathfield is being developed by Cork company Murnane & O’Shea.