Aberdare: People queue overnight for new homes

Media caption,
Aberdare: Buyers queue overnight to nab new homes

Thirteen houses have sold in less than three hours after dozens of people slept outside an estate agent to bid for new homes in Aberdare.

Up to 30 people arrived at Bidmead Cook on Thursday with chairs, blankets and prosecco, preparing for a long wait.

Estate agent Gavin Williams said he had never seen buyers queuing overnight in his professional life.

The scenes - more than 18 hours before the 14 homes went on sale - were described as "completely bonkers."

Angharad Hamilton-Shaw, 32, from Cwmaman, was first in line having began queuing at 15:15 BST the previous day.

"Originally we planned to go queue at midnight but with more interest, the time got earlier and earlier," she said.

"And it's a good job we did as the next person came around four o'clock.

"People were still coming in the early hours and then walking away once they asked those of us queuing which properties we were interested in - it was really heart-breaking."

Image source, Gavin Williams
Image caption,
People ordered pizza and coffee was handed out as they queued in order to be first in line

Ms Hamilton-Shaw said family and friends queued through the night in shifts to make sure to help secure her "forever home."

"It has been really emotional, just feelings of excitement and anxiety," she said.

"It was really cold throughout the night, but everyone seemed to be in good spirits and that helped pass the time.

"And technically those of us that have got the properties are now all neighbours and we have made friends for once we move in."

Image source, Angharad Hamilton-Shaw
Image caption,
Angharad (left) braved cold temperatures overnight to ensure to bought her "forever home"

Hanna Owen sold her house in February and has been looking for another since the beginning of March.

Despite seeing a few on the market, she has missed out until now.

"It's crazy, there are loads of people buying at the moment."

'In it to win it'

The 34-year-old from Aberdare said she was not planning on queuing for as long as she did.

"My mother-in-law walked past and told me there was already someone waiting there and she got in behind so we ended up being second in the queue.

"My sister-in-law and niece took over from 17:00 BST and then me and my mother-in-law were there from 22:00.

"It was freezing cold and my mother-in-law went back to the house numerous times to get bottles of water and flasks of tea," she said.

She said it was definitely worth queueing - with the bonus being she got to meet her new neighbours.

"When my sister-in-law first suggested queuing so early I thought she was joking, but I am so glad I did - you have got to be in it to win it.

"It felt like such a long night but when I think it about it, it's gone so quickly, and it's only now kicking in that I we are homeowners," she said.

Image source, Hanna Owen
Image caption,
Hanna Owen (right) and her mother-in-law (Linda Lewis) said it was freezing throughout the night but 'well worth it'

Estate agent director Jeanne Fry-Thomas said she "couldn't believe my eyes" at the scenes and that colleagues had handed out coffee and donuts overnight to those waiting.

The site called Cwm Heulwen, has three-bedroom properties priced at £184,950 and with four-bed homes coming in at £320,000.

Currently, the average house price in Wales is £209,723, according to the Principality Building Society.

Ms Thomas said homebuyers were now looking for extra space.

"People want gardens and more space," she said.

"It's bouncing and it's completely bonkers. It's local people, people moving from outside the area, investors - it's madness, our busiest offices are all the valleys offices.

"And we just don't have the stock. The demand is there, but we don't have the properties."

'Absolutely unbelievable'

Bidmead Cook said the houses are off-plan and they are the second phase of a development by Welsh family-owned company, Davis Homes.

Developer Matthew Davis said he was "flummoxed" by the situation.

The 42-year-old, from Pontyclun, said: "The housing market is strong but this is absolutely unbelievable.

"The first lady decided to park up and camp mid-afternoon and it must have created a situation where people thought they should start queuing as well."