Belfast Telegraph

Repossession rate for homes in Northern Ireland is highest in the UK

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland is expected to have the UK's highest rate of home repossession this year, according to mortgage service company HML. Greater London would experience the biggest number of repossessions in the second half of the year, at nearly 1,400.

But with 858 repossessions predicted, amounting to a repossession rate of 0.74%, Northern Ireland would have highest incidence of foreclosure.

HML's predictions came as the number of households having their homes repossessed fell to its lowest level since 2006 in the first half of this year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

HML forecast that Greater London and Wales would have the second highest repossession rate at 0.26%, while the south west of England would have the lowest rate at 0.14%. Ursula Toner, advice services manager with Northern Ireland charity the Housing Rights Service, said: "The fact that Northern Ireland remains the area with the highest numbers of projected repossessions is sadly not a surprise for Housing Rights Service – neither will it be for the thousands of local homeowners at crisis point.

"High levels of negative equity, increased costs of living and a difficult job market have severely impacted homeowners. We would urge anyone experiencing problems with mortgage or secured loan debt to seek advice."

According to the CML, 5,400 properties were taken into possession in the second quarter of this year, marking the lowest number since quarterly records began at the start of 2008.

When this is added to the 6,400 repossessions which took place in the first three months of 2014, the half-year total of 11,800 is the lowest six-monthly tally recorded since the second half of 2006, the CML said. The figures are not broken up into UK regions.

Rock bottom interest rates have been credited with helping to keep people's repayments affordable, and the CML said that while the latest low repossession figures are "clearly welcome", borrowers should be planning now for how they will cope with rates increasing as the economy improves.

Belfast Telegraph