Number of NI repossessions down

Published Friday, 15 August 2014
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The latest figures show that fewer home owners in Northern Ireland are being confronted with the threat of losing their property.

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According to the Courts Service, the number of people being taken to court with a view to repossession has fallen compared to the same time period last year.

There were 1,607 cases from January to June this year, down from 1,960 for those months in 2013.

However the crisis here remains worse than in other parts of the UK, with the shock wave from the property earthquake still being felt right across NI.

Ursula Toner from the Housing Rights Service told UTV there is still cause for concern.

"We are pleased to see the decrease in cases being brought to court but, to sound a note of caution, we are still the highest in the whole of the UK for repossessions," she explained.

"We are expecting an interest rate rise and that will seriously affect local borrowers here."

When people have their homes repossessed the pain doesn't end with the eviction - unless they go bankrupt, they still have to pay back the mortgage shortfall.

It is therefore critical how good a price a repossessed home makes on the open market.

New figures show that in NI such properties secure the worst value for money in the UK, with a home typically only selling for 42% of what it is really worth.

That compares with between 60% and 70% in England, Scotland and Wales.

Estate agent Colin Barkley said this can be for a number of reasons, including the condition of the property and the vendor reducing the price if it doesn't sell quickly.

He said: "A lot of them are vacant properties. They maybe haven't been left in the pristine order a caring owner occupier might have left them in, so that can be one of the reasons.

"I think you've also got a very motivated vendor when you're talking about the asset management companies, they're not prepared to let the property sit on the market for three or four months.

"This might be normal in a private sale, but if it's not sold within the month they'll reduce it again, so that can be why the figures aren't good."

The advice being given to home owners at risk of default is to consider selling their house before it is taken off them, as this means they are likely to get a better price than their mortgage company.

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Michael in Belfast wrote (32 days ago):
Once the interest rates start to rise & the property bubble bursts again watch as the numbers of repossessions spiral upwards. The bankers have learnt nothing, they are still gambling, lying & cheating with peoples money, a collapse will happen again, and governments will once again bail them out!!
Big C in Not Belfast wrote (32 days ago):
The advice in this story is wrong. If someone goes bankrupt after reposession but before the house is sold, that does not kill the debt. Motgage Banks aren't generally part of the bankruptcy process and will recover the outstanding loan and interest after the house is sold.
Caolan in Belfast wrote (33 days ago):
Yeah cause no-one has anythig left to repossess.
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