Camping pays off in bid for MoD homes

LORNA MARSH It was by far the longest queue they had endured, but weeks of camping on a Norfolk street paid off yesterday when dozens of people got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to secure their own home.

LORNA MARSH

It was by far the longest queue they had endured, but weeks of camping on a Norfolk street paid off yesterday when dozens of people got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to secure their own home.

As house prices continue to rocket, up to three weeks of braving the elements to buy a cut-price former MoD home was the only option for the families, couples and singles desperate to get a foot on the increasingly elusive first rung of the housing ladder.

Celebrations took place yesterday as the houses in went on sale and those in the queue finally got their chance to buy one of the homes at Annington Place in Catton, Norwich.

Only a few who turned up on the day were left disappointed but reassured that another sale phase, the final one in the complex off Fifer's Lane, will take place later in the year.

And those that were lucky said the queuing experience was not so bad after all - helping them forge a sense of community before they even moved in as the wannabe buyers bonded over shared barbecues.

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The new neighbours are even planning to camp out on May 4 every year to mark the anniversary on which they finally got their own home.

Property agents Annington specially marketed the houses to first time buyers who might normally struggle to meet the national average of £177,096.

Incentives provided by Annington included paying the 5pc mortgage deposit, meaning the cheapest home at £132,950 for a two-bedroom terrace actually worked out at £126,302 and buyers also did not have to worry about finding a lump sum.

Solicitors, who had already done part of the work before the houses officially went on sale, could complete the process as soon as the buyers picked their property.

First in the queue were happy house hunters Tanya Newitt, 31, and Kevin Cullum, 30, who picked a three-bedroom property for themselves and two children, aged nine and ten.

The couple are currently renting at the moment and Ms Newitt said when all the finances had settled they would be far better off with a mortgage.

She said that the wait, since April 14 had been well worth it.

“We've already made friends and are planning what we are going to do, it's been a really good experience.”

Karen Lain, who secured the 14th place in the queue nine days ago almost saw her dream slip away as she had to beg her boss to let her take the day off work.

The 41-year-old was keen to get a home for her and her dog after splitting with her partner.

“I'd been trying to keep it quiet but then realised I might not be able to get the day off so easily. It's been great camping out though, it means we've set up the community already and we've already agreed to share favours like babysitting.”

Annington spokesman Peter Clarke said: “It's a win-win situation really as the buyers get everything they need to get done in one day.”

The final 28 homes in Annington Place are due to go on the market in the autumn while hundreds of former MoD homes are due to be released to Annington for sale in the near future.

t www.edp24.co.uk/homes

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