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'Our plans to buy new home after exiting insolvency process are now put on hold'


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House sales in Northern Ireland...File photo dated 25/12/08 of Estate agent signs in Belfast, Northern Ireland as the proportion of first-time buyers in Northern Ireland's housing market is the largest since 2001, it was revealed today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 11, 2012. With no sign of an end to the fall in average prices, the difference in the cost of buying properties in certain areas is also becoming more evident, according to a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). See PA story ULSTER Housing. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire...A

House sales in Northern Ireland...File photo dated 25/12/08 of Estate agent signs in Belfast, Northern Ireland as the proportion of first-time buyers in Northern Ireland's housing market is the largest since 2001, it was revealed today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 11, 2012. With no sign of an end to the fall in average prices, the difference in the cost of buying properties in certain areas is also becoming more evident, according to a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). See PA story ULSTER Housing. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire...A

House sales in Northern Ireland...File photo dated 25/12/08 of Estate agent signs in Belfast, Northern Ireland as the proportion of first-time buyers in Northern Ireland's housing market is the largest since 2001, it was revealed today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 11, 2012. With no sign of an end to the fall in average prices, the difference in the cost of buying properties in certain areas is also becoming more evident, according to a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). See PA story ULSTER Housing. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire...A

Mark Henry (46), originally from London but now living in Belfast with wife Patricia and sons Isaac and Elijah, was getting ready to buy a house after losing his home during the last financial crisis.

"I'm an electrician working on a self-employed basis in the events and entertainment industry - things like the Electric Picnic, and other big festivals and mass public gatherings.

Our industry would have been among the first to feel the brunt and I'm sure we will be the last to come through it. Everything was pretty much cancelled and stopped dead.

My last bit of work was with Formula E - which is like Formula 1 with electric cars - in February in Mexico City. I was booked for March and April as well, going around Europe and Asia. But that's ground to a halt, with no pay for me.

After that racing car season finishes in July, I usually then start going into festivals around Ireland and the UK. All of those have been cancelled.

I've qualified for the self-employed grant. I had a little bit of savings as I was looking to buy a house but having savings ruled me out of getting Universal Credit.

The self-employed grant was a little bit less than I hoped but it will help and it would be amazing if it was extended into October like the furlough scheme. It will be next April before my usual line of work picks up again. I'm going to have to start looking for more regular electrical work around Belfast.

My wife Patricia is a part-time retail manager at Next and has been furloughed. We're both expecting her to go back in a couple of weeks, maybe if the Next Home stores open.

Overall, I am quite resilient and quite easy-going when it comes to coping with this.

We had plans for buying a home during the summer and that all goes out the window for the foreseeable.

We lost our home in 2007 in the financial crash and worked for all that time since to get to this point.

Our individual voluntary arrangement (a form of insolvency) finishes next month when we're eligible for a mortgage but it's just one of those things.

But I do see it as a benefit all the time we're spending together with the kids."

Belfast Telegraph