Insights from the UK and beyond
Negative equity nightmare returns as house prices drop
It’s every houseowner’s worst nightmare – and it’s official now: more than a million households could fall into negative equity if the housing slump continues, the Bank of England said today.
Growing numbers of home owners could be forced to sell their properties at a loss, as the property downturn gathers pace and vendors run out of options.
The scope of the negative equity nightmare could be massive. The BoE said that a 15 percent drop in prices from their October 2007 peak would leave one in 10 homeowners with outstanding mortgage debt worth more than the value of their home. Earlier this week the Centre for Economics and Business research predicted that the average cost of a UK home will fall up to 40,000 pounds by the end of 2009.
First-time buyers are among those hardest hit and buy-to-let landlords may fall behind on mortgage payments or may be forced to sell at a loss as lending dries up.
And if that’s not gloomy enough – two further sets of figures provided more bleak news for the housing market on Tuesday.
The Financial Services Authority said the number of home repossessions in the second quarter rose to 11,054 from 9,172 in the previous three months. And according to the Land Registry, the average price of a house in September was 168,814 pounds, down another 2.2 percent on the month, a far cry from around 200,000 pounds seen at the peak last summer.
How have you been affected by the downturn in the housing market? Have you even been affected by negative equity, either now or in the past?