House hunters get first foot on ladder

Friday the 13th proved to be very lucky indeed for dozens of people who queued for days in the rain and cold to get their first foot on the property ladder.

Friday the 13th proved to be very lucky indeed for dozens of people who queued for days in the rain and cold to get their first foot on the property ladder.

For the last 19 nights and days, determined first-time home-buyers camped out at Raf Coltishall to make sure they were at the front of the queue to snap up one of 48 former MoD houses for a bargain price.

Initially 250 people expressed an interest in the homes - a mix of two, three and four bedroom houses - when they were put up sale from between £118,702 and £154,802.

Yesterday the wait was finally over for the patient campers who eagerly viewed the homes of their choice before signing their new property deeds and working out what could go in each room.

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

Annington, which owns 57,000 MoD homes, also reserved the first 20 homes for Raf families who used to serve at the now defunct base, which was closed after its Jaguar attack jets were phased out by air force chiefs.

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One of the first people to pitch up tent and endure bad weather and the long wait was Jane Algar who lives in a nearby rented home with her Raf husband Richard, who is currently serving in Basra, Iraq.

After snaring a three bedroom semi-detached house for just £154,802, a delighted Mrs Algar texted her spouse to inform him he was now a homeowner for the first time.

Mrs Algar said: “It just feels absolutely phenomenal to get this house. It was definitely worth the wait.

“At first I was a bit scared to be on my own in a tent and it was cold at times. But everyone in the camp was very supportive.

“To while away the time we had barbeques and karaoke nights and I know I have made some good friends for life.”

Unfortunately not all the people who queued for a property in Annington Fields managed to get the home of their dreams as they were pipped to the post by buyers ahead of them in the queue.

Miles and Sandy Fish, of Thorpe St Andrew, had hoped to buy a £144,000 four-bedroom house for their Raf son Miles, who is currently based in Scotland, but they were forced to settle for a two bedroom home for £118,000 after their first choice was snapped up by someone else.

But for Holly Bammant, 20, it was good news as she picked up a two-bedroom home for £118,000 for herself and Raf boyfriend Ian Bateson, who was on a plane to serve in Afghanistan as their bid was accepted.

Holly said: “I think offering these homes to Raf families is a very good move. Without it we would never have even had the chance to get a foot in the housing market.”

Annington redecorated all the homes and enhanced their exteriors before they were put up for sale and the company will be putting a further 334 former MoD homes at Coltishall up for sale once they have all been improved.

None of the people queuing seem perturbed at potential government plans of turning RAF Coltishall into an immigration reception centre for asylum seekers.