The Middleton Waters show home is situated in the village of Middleton St George, between Darlington and Yarm

A new residential development in Darlington is attracting a high volume of viewings and home reservations despite testing times for housebuilders and their show homes.

The first lockdown saw the closure of show homes across the UK, but one developer quickly adapted, creating an innovative workaround to ensure sales could continue.

Newton Aycliffe housebuilder Homes by Carlton, working with Durham-based agents Urban Base, has recently opened the Middleton Waters show home in a Covid-secure way, protecting the health and safety of customers and employees – and homes are being snapped up in record time.

Middleton Waters is situated in the village of Middleton St George, between Darlington and Yarm. Urban Base has been instructed to sell the development’s 200 homes and has worked meticulously hard to keep the site and show home open. 65% of the homes released so far have been reserved.


By utilising technology, virtual communications and state-of-the-art Covid measures, house hunters have been able to enjoy one-to-one viewings, which have been easier to navigate and proved more beneficial to buyers.

Jan Dale, director-owner of Urban Base, said: “Because of Covid-19 restrictions, we’ve had to completely change how we market new homes to prospective buyers.

“We were forced to rethink the entire show home experience and how we could change it to offer the best service to clients but also put their health and safety at the heart of any new process, as that must come first.

“When you come to our Middleton Waters show home, you’ll receive a completely new kind of visit. Only you and those currently in your social ‘bubble’ will view the home where you’ll be able to take your time exploring the design, layout and external areas and get a really good feel for the wider development.”

“Launching a show home during lockdown seemed a daunting task at first but by pushing us out of our comfort zones of traditional ‘showtime’ we’ve developed an innovative virtual approach to selling a home which has been extremely well received – business certainly is booming.”

All viewings are by appointment only and, following a brief introduction to the development and key features to look at while visiting, the agent waits outside.

Masks, hand washing and hand sanitiser facilities as well as an automatic shoe covering machine are provided upon arrival. Following each visit, all surfaces are disinfected, handles and other touch points throughout the home before the next Covid-safe visit.

Marketing information is provided via email and any further questions following the viewing are asked and answered via email or phone.

Dale adds: “We’re recreated that very special moment of reserving your dream home with phone or video calls arranged between the buyer and agent to go through relevant paperwork, manage the deposit transfer and complete the home sale.
“Every detail is managed virtually from decoration and colour choices to bespoke furnishing and finishing options. Physical contact is kept to a minimum but virtual communication with house hunters has never been so strong.”