Published Monday, 03 March 2014
For sale signs in Northern Ireland. (© Pacemaker)
For anyone who bought at the height of the boom, negative equity is an all too familiar story.
While seven years on from the property crash it may be a good time to buy, new statistics show that around 41 per cent of households in the region are now said to be in negative equity.
This equates to 68,000 borrowers having a house which is worth less than their mortgage.
These figures appear much worse when compared to the rest of the UK.
Negative equity in Scotland is at 13 per cent and the north of England averages at around 16 per cent.
House prices in NI are now believed to be around half of what they were during their peak in 2007, with the average house valued at about £99k.
In September and December last year, there were some signs of recovery in the housing market.
The volume of homes sold was up 28 per cent on 2012.
But, it appears for some homeowners there could be bad news to come with predictions that this year 2,500 people could face repossession.
Ursula Toner, Housing Rights Service, told UTV that the figures are not a surprise to them.
"We've known for quite some time the serious problem that Northern Ireland has - and is having - with regards to negative equity.
"75 percent of the clients contacting us struggling with their mortgage payments are in negative equity and the difficulty clients in that situation face is they have very limited options and we really are pleased to hear that a repossession task force has actually been implemented and a key thing they're going to look at in Northern Ireland is negative equity."
Ms Toner said that the task force will look at what exactly are the options for borrowers who find themselves in this situation.
She said that many clients contacting them are "extremely distressed" over the risk they face of losing their home and many feel trapped in the property if they are unable to downsize.
© UTV News