NI builder slashes price of houses by up to £110,000 . . . and sells each one


A NORTHERN Ireland housebuilder has proved that homes can still be sold despite market gloom, provided the price is right.

When the developer slashed the price of new homes it couldn't sell because of the property slump by as much as £110,000 (€137,000), it attracted buyers for every one in a couple of hours.

More than 700 buyers flooded the Co Antrim development built by Fraser Houses, one of Northern Ireland's biggest housebuilders, after it placed advertisements in a newspaper declaring: "We give in! We're finding it tough to sell. So let's cut to the chase with an offer you can't refuse."

In just a couple of hours yesterday all 53 houses on offer - the first two phases of the company's Aylesbury Place development in Glengormley - were snapped up.

Semi-detached houses, previously priced at £229,500, went up for sale at £139,950.

Detached houses were reduced by more than £110,000 from £340,000 to £229,950 and apartments were down from £179,950 to £119,950.

In addition, Fraser's will pay the stamp duty on the properties, provide on-site mortgage packages and give a price guarantee that if they sell the same type of house for less in the future they will pay back the difference.

Such was the demand, the company has decided to release the third phase of the homes on Saturday.

Paul Fraser of Fraser Houses said: "We are absolutely delighted with the level of interest in the Aylesbury Place development. All the buyers last night were owner-occupiers, including many first-time buyers."

Mr Fraser added that despite all the media coverage of the deteriorating UK property market, people were more than ready to buy if house prices met affordability levels.

"Buyers need confidence to make a commitment to property and this confidence has frankly been eroded with the recent speculation about the credit crunch, banks reducing their mortgage products and the government suspending their funding of the co-ownership scheme," he said.

"We want to set an example and prove that the market simply needs a kickstart."

Simon Brien, of estate agents BTWCairns, said: "Fraser Houses simply want to sell houses. They want to prove that the right package will attract buyers.

"We believe that together we have the opportunity to show the property sector that the right action will generate the right response."

- (PA)