Are You Dealing With Negative Equity & Property Debt?

Dealing with Negative Equity & Property Debt

Negative equity means if you were to sell your home, the price it fetches would be insufficient to clear what you owe the bank or building society.

It’s a big problem in Northern Ireland where 41% of homes – 63,000 households – fall into that category. If you are one of them, the two minutes it will take to read this article could be the difference between a happy outcome and a fresh start or on-going misery.

Negative Equity Northern Ireland’s (NENI) managing director Phil Davison gets straight to the point.

“Negative equity has caught thousands of people here, through no fault of their own, and they have no idea of how they’re going to get out of it. We see them every day. Thankfully we are in a position to give them the help they need,” he says.

“They can’t sell their home, even though they have outgrown it or can no longer afford the mortgage because of a change in their circumstances. They may be divorcing or moving because of work, or they simply want to downsize, but can’t.

“We can solve those problems.”

Although NENI are the local market leaders, he does not pretend that there aren’t others in the field.

“If you are in this position I would strongly advise that you review all of your options,” he urges. “We provide a service, not advice. We take the pressure off our clients and always get them the best result available.”

So who are NENI, what exactly do they do and why would you consult them rather than somebody else who, at first glance, might appear to be offering a similar service?

They are a Belfast-based company whose professionally qualified staff have backgrounds in accountancy, banking and finance. They also have an insolvency practitioner.

Director Tom Cardwell says: “It is important to our clients that we offer all the services they require. It can be a stressful enough process without having to deal with a number of different companies and we are the only local firm of our type to offer every option a client could need in-house.”

As a potential client what protection do you have? How do you know you will be treated fairly? What stops NENI simply making promises they can’t fulfil?

The answer is that all their resolution work is regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and their insolvency record is monitored by CARB. This gives their clients the peace of mind they require. It’s an exacting standard so not every company can offer customers that level of scrutiny and protection. So make that your starting point before deciding to deal with any company offering help in such matters; first and foremost ensure they are FCA-licensed.

If not, stop right there.

Negative Equity NI are knowledgeable professionals accustomed to negotiating with others of comparable ability. Their experience, coupled with that level of expertise, means they are respected and treated as equals when they sit down at the table to negotiate for you.

Others offer advice, but then leave you to conduct your own negotiations. Not so with NENI.

In addition, NENI’s first consultation – at which the exact nature of your problem is assessed – is entirely free. If you decide not to proceed, there is no charge. NENI’s primary goal is to write off the maximum amount of debt on your property. To that end they have built their team and their business around their customers. People just like you. Their staff’s vast experience after years of working in banking, property and all related finance means they understand how lenders think, how they operate and, crucially, what they will – and won’t – accept.

Too good to be true? Just look at the testimonials on our website negativeequityni.com – and there’s any number of very relieved customers who are now getting on with their lives and able to confirm that there is a way out of negative equity in Northern Ireland. Contact the team today and get a free consultation, we are here to help you.

We Can Help With Your Mortgage Debt Problems

Who do you turn to if your mortgage debt is piling up?

With staff working on over 300 clients in different stages of their case at any one time, we at Negative Equity NI are continually striving to do the best for those who are struggling with mortgage debt. Since the start of 2016 we’ve written off £1million in personal property debt for our clients.

A total of £1million written off for 15 cases across NI and the mainland. The average write off is £66.6k, which equals almost an 80% write off for our average client. All cases and outcomes are based on varying factors such as affordability and change in circumstance but our highest write off so far this year was a whopping 96% for a client with a Santander mortgage meaning she only paid £2,200 of an outstanding negative equity balance of £61,781. Now that’s something to boast about!

So, What is Negative Equity?

Negative equity means your home is worth less than the mortgage currently still owed on the property. In other words – say you bought the house for £150,000 in 2008 and it is now in 2016 only valued at £100,000, you would be in £50,000 of negative equity. If you were to sell your house for £100,000 you would still owe the bank £50,000.

Sound scary? You’re not alone. Currently some 41% of households in Northern Ireland are affected by negative equity. That’s the highest percentage for any region in the UK with some 68,000 Northern Ireland households caught in the trap.

Perhaps you bought at the height of the boom and now it is time to move to a larger property due to an expanding family. It could be that your work circumstances have changed, leaving mortgage repayments more of a struggle. Maybe you have divorced or are in the process of divorcing, meaning you wish to sell the property to move on. Negative equity doesn’t solely apply to single properties either – some bought a second property at the height of the boom believing it to be an excellent investment, rather than the drain it is now. On top of these woes, many have an interest only mortgage, meaning they are effectively renting the property off the bank. But what happens when the interest rates rise? Or the term comes to an end and all the capital is owed on the house?

What Can You Do?
Regardless of your circumstance we can offer help. A free no obligation consultation is available in our Belfast based office at Mount Charles to discuss your mortgage debt problems and we can take it from there.

If you want to hear about our success stories, take a look below at the testimonial from a very happy client

Larne Couple, NRAM Mortgage in £66,000 Negative Equity

We’ve recently helped a couple from Larne with an NRAM mortgage who were in £66,000 of negative equity – we were able to negotiate a 90% write off.

“We approached Negative Equity NI due to a change in our personal circumstances.

We unfortunately had bought our property at the height of the boom, and subsequently were heavily in negative equity, which meant that we were unable to switch our mortgage to a better deal, or sell the property in the usual manner. The service we received was first class, Natasha (case manager) kept us up to date with all the developments & through negotiations with our lender, secured a write off of the negative equity on the property, with a settlement of 10%. I would highly recommend this company, to anyone who has a property sitting in significant negative equity.

Many thanks to the team at Negative Equity NI”.

If you’d like to talk to somebody about your mortgage debt, contact us today or give us a call on 028 90236074.

Are You In Negative Equity? We Can Help!

Are You In Negative Equity?

Negative equity is still a harsh reality and in some parts of the country there is little reason to believe that things are going to improve to any great extent in the near future. Many of those still playing catch-up are coming from such a deficit that it is going to take a very long time for the homes they bought 10 years ago to recover their pre-crash value.

A University of Ulster report revealed that in 2012 property prices in Portadown/Lurgan had just experienced the most dramatic decline IN THE WHOLE OF THE UK. At the start of that year the average price of a home in Craigavon was £108,370. By the end of 2012 it had slumped to £91,530 – an unprecedented drop of 18.4% in 12 months. Property prices in Craigavon fell almost FIVE TIMES more than the Northern Ireland mean, with that report by the University of Ulster showing that in 2012 the average price of a home in Northern Ireland was down 3.6% to just under £139,000. Compare that with Craigavon’s drop of 18.4%.

Craigavon was the worst of the UK’s 10 most affected areas in the wake of the recession. The other nine were in the north of England or Scotland, incidentally.

Property debt continues to be a problem in Northern Ireland, despite the fact that interest rates have never been lower. Base interest rate has been 0.5% since Match 2009 – an all-time low over a record period of time. One might think that those are two major pluses for home-owners. But the truth of the matter is that even after more than seven years of a lower-than-ever interest rate, the number seeking help to get out of negative equity remains huge. And it would be even greater if more of those currently struggling with property debt in Northern Ireland were aware of the help that is available.

There can be few more energy-draining, morale-sapping, soul-destroying situations than to be trapped in a home now worth considerably less than you paid for it, particularly  if you are struggling to make monthly mortgage repayments in order to stay there. And if that is difficult at this stage, how much harder will it be when the Bank of England finally opts to increase its base interest rate? That it will do so is an inevitability. There is no case of ‘if’ that happens, it is only a matter of ‘when’.

All of the available figures and statistics confirm that negative equity is seriously impairing the Northern Ireland housing market’s recovery.

According to a report published in late February 2016 by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, while there is growth at the first-time buyers’ end of the market, there has not been any among home-movers seeking to upgrade or downsize.  To a very large extent, that is because – in view of the negative equity on the home they would have to sell in order to move to a bigger or smaller property – they fear they are trapped.

 

But bear in mind the fact that people sometimes HAVE TO MOVE due to a change in their circumstances. The newly-married couple who bought that two-bedroom house back in the mid-2000s have since had three children. That house is too small. But it also has £60,000 of negative equity attached to it.

Problem.
Or what about the couple whose offspring have grown up, moved out and are making their own lives elsewhere, leaving mum and dad in a house which now is too big for them and is expensive to maintain and run? They need something smaller. But they, too, have negative equity.

Problem.
Or take the once-happy couple who are now divorcing. They are joint-owners of the home they shared. But now they are going their separate ways, they want to sell. However they also have negative equity, or property debt.

Problem.
Or the skilled tradesman who used to have a well-paid job, with plenty of overtime, but now finds himself in a situation where all of that has changed. He is in negative equity and struggling to maintain mortgage repayments.

Problem.
If you need help, it has to be in the form of people who have experience in dealing with problems just like his. People who are knowledgeable – and shockproof – when it comes to dealing with debt, almost certainly having successfully handled cases much more difficult than yours and whose range of options open up a variety of choices as to how to help you out of your predicament.
They need to know the world of loans, debts, repayments, interest, small-print penalty clauses, terms/conditions and the multitude of laws relating to all of those things. ‘Know’ as in inside-out, that is.

Negative Equity Northern Ireland (NENI) have just such knowledge. Most importantly, they are FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) licensed and regulated, confirming their status as a bona fide concern.  At the outset they will sit down alongside you in order to assess your position, thoroughly and honestly. Given that this first meeting is designed to confirm whether or not they really can help you, it is totally free of charge. At that interim meeting they will examine the full extent of your debts and all of your other outgoings. Then they weigh those combined totals against your income to get the full picture. If this is to work, the thoroughness of their research much be matched by the totality of your honesty. They will analyse the nature of your mortgage with a view to discovering whether or not the advice you were given at the time of agreeing to that loan was the best for you. And they will wish to ascertain which creditor is applying most pressure and in what form that is coming, so as to provide protection there.
After that they will prepare a case which – acting on your behalf – they will then put to your creditors. In between times, they will be your buffer, ensuring that you are not subjected to harassment, final demands or anything other sort of pressure. The objective in all of this is to arrive at a negotiated settlement, the obligations of which you can meet. In other words, it is viable. In addition to being realistic for you, it must be acceptable to your creditors. This means that following completion of the recovery process you will be in a position to start living again, free of worry about your money issues.

This is NOT about shrugging your shoulders, walking away from your responsibilities and laughing all the way FROM the bank. No, no, no. Instead it is about arriving at a solution which provides the best case scenario for all concerned. If it is a matter of re-negotiating mortgage terms/repayment amounts or a property debt. NENI oversee that. If it is a matter of selling a property in negative equity, here NINE’s sister company, Aria Residential, can assist by ensuring that you get the best possible price. And if you have loans elsewhere or in other forms – overdrafts or credit card debts for example – there, too, NENI’s team of experts have a formidable record in negotiating successful outcomes for people just like you.

Note that in the first five and a half months of 2016, NENI negotiated the wipe-out of more than £2,486,825 in the form of Resolution Write-Offs and Bankruptcy Debt Write-Offs. The total write-off figure in just over three years is £5.2m. If you need advice or would like to avail of Negative Equity’s free consultation offer, please get in touch today here or speak to a member of the team by calling: 028 9023 6074

Is Negative Equity Still A Problem In N.I In 2016?

Is Negative Equity Still A Problem In N.I?

Is negative equity still an issue in Northern Ireland in 2016? In a word, yes! Negative equity is still a very real issue in Northern Ireland. It is true that house prices are rising in some areas: south and east Belfast, parts of north Down and several villages and small towns which stand an easy travel-to-work distance from Belfast. Templepatrick, Holywood, Moira and Hillsborough are prime examples.

But even here, the rate of increase means current valuations are still some way short of the highs of 2007 when Northern Ireland’s property prices soared at a previously unimaginable rate en route to unprecedented levels. Alas, to the adjective ‘unprecedented’ can be added another, namely ‘unsustainable’. And the fact that it was unsustainable created economic carnage throughout Northern Ireland. How? Just as prices here rocketed higher and faster than anything seen anywhere else in the U.K so too the crash, when it came, resulted in a steeper nosedive than in any other region. Record-setting house-price increases were followed by record-shattering devaluations. Northern Ireland holds the unenviable top spots in terms of boom and bust.

If you were to draw a graph of what happened here, it would resemble an upside-down V. And the impact of that spectacular example of the rise and fall in house prices continues, with its effects still all-too visible across much of Northern Ireland.

The state of the property market isn’t the only problem. The loss of thousands of well-paid, highly skilled jobs in the hard-pressed manufacturing industrial sector is another, add to that the closure of retail outlets in every city, town and village. Then add the number of employees now on the minimum wage.

The combined effects of all of these blows to family viability – not least in terms of meeting monthly mortgage repayments – underlines how serious the problem of negative equity is. Negative equity – which is just another way of saying property debt – is still a very real and very live issue in Northern Ireland in 2016, with tens of thousands living in homes now worth considerably less than the price paid for them.

The price paid for a house in 2006-2008 may be twice what the same property would fetch if it were put up for sale on today’s property market. This means that a house which was sold for £200,000 in 2007 may now be worth just £100,000. In other words, after a sale there would still be £100,000 of negative equity, that being the shortfall.

The lender will still require that shortfall to be met, however, which means the unfortunate seller must continue to pay off the mortgage despite having sold the property. That means having to continue to pay for something you no longer own.

The situation is even worse for those with interest-only mortgages. As the name suggests, currently anyone in that position is paying just the interest on their mortgage.

Say it’s for £200,000. This means that at the end of their 25-year mortgage term, their repayments will have covered only the interest. The clue is in the name. Thus the £200,000 mortgage they borrowed, still has to be paid. In other words, the home they bought for £200,000 will end up having cost £400,000, that being the combined interest-plus-capital total.

If you do not have a repayment plan with which to clear that £200,000 capital loan, you are in a very unenviable place – particularly if your home is in negative equity.  It is estimated that 40% of Northern Ireland homes are in negative equity, with some of the worst affected areas being Mid-Ulster (Dungannon-Omagh), Craigavon (Portadown-Lurgan) and Banbridge-Newry where there have been price-falls in excess of 50%.

True, those areas are showing some signs of improvement. But while that sounds positive, such is the deficit from which they are recovering that prices are nowhere remotely close to what they were in 2006-2008 when they spiralled so madly. Those home-owners of whom this is true, need help in finding a solution to their negative equity property problem.

Negative equity is not a problem for anyone who is able to make repayments and does not need to sell at this stage. They are able to ride out the storm until such times as the market has made a full recovery. That, however, is going to take some time.

If you do need to sell your home, negative equity creates huge problems. Unless you have sizeable personal savings, moving may not be an option at all – and certainly not an easy one. Unless, that is, you know how and where to get expert advice and help with the problem of negative equity, ultimately leading to a solution.

Experts – like those of Negative Equity NI – are trained in all such matters and, as a result, know all of the options. They also know which of those would be best for your individual circumstances.

Re-mortgaging may be one, but it is difficult to switch to a cheaper repayment or fixed rate if you are in negative equity. Lenders are unlikely to facilitate such a switch, instead preferring a move to the standard variable rate.

A few – very few – lenders offer a negative equity mortgage under which you may transfer that negative equity to your new property. However, you will be required to pay a deposit.

A negative equity mortgage allows you to move house without having to pay off the negative equity on your mortgage.

On the down side, you may have to cough up early repayment charges on your existing mortgage and even then there could be additional fees. The interest rate on your new mortgage is likely to be higher than on your existing mortgage.

A Negative Equity NI adviser can tell if your lender and the small print of your existing mortgage permit you to make over-payments in order to reduce your negative equity. And if that is possible, it then becomes a matter of how much you are able to over-pay before incurring early repayment charges.

A Negative Equity Northern Ireland adviser can help you reach the appropriate decision with regard to moving house. If you are in negative equity, your prospects will depend on the extent of your property debt, the state of your current mortgage, the price of the home to which you are hoping to move and the size of the deposit you are able to raise.