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The NI Property Market - Still Spinning

So I read with interest this week that according to a representative of the Enforcement and Judgements Office I Northern Ireland at an event organised by the Council of Mortgage Lenders revealed that the number of housing repossessions in the North of Ireland are declining.

The latest figures indicate that the number of applications for repossessions fell from just over 1,400 to 1,100 during the last financial year,  and the number of cases completed also dropped, falling from 1,084 in 2014/15 to 622 in 2015/16. This was all welcome news until they credited the number of repossessions had been "sliding down as the market gets a bit better".

This is great news for borrowers and those struggling to repay their property debt but I was not entirely convinced on their reasons. That is because, as per normal the real message is hidden behind the media spin, that repossessions are down because the property market is back on its feet.

Well, if you are kind enough to be reading this, as a guardian of the truth I can give you a bit more insight into why repossessions are on the decline as the fact is, there are other reasons omitted from this particular media representation.

Bank Mediation for example has changed the landscape of the local property market and GDP Partnership are the undisputed market leaders in this field. Banks and borrowers alike have benefited from mediation as this process involves maximising the return obtained from a property by consensually working together.

This process can be achieved through disposal of the property or restructure of the existing agreement. The end result being the banks get the best return, the borrower is mitigating their own losses, and where there is a debt shortfall, the borrowers are rewarded with debt settlements.

In addition, as a result of previous actions by Lloyds Banking Group in bringing previous repossession proceedings to the court, which is currently under investigation by the Attorney General, there is an embargo on bringing matters before the Master. Lloyds Banking Group includes Bank of Scotland, Cheltenham and Gloucester, Halifax plc and TMB who were some of the largest lenders, and certainly most active, during the property boom.

So if you think that repossessions have declined due to an improved property market, you need only look no further than the stats also provided by the Council of Mortgage Lenders at the same event in order to help form your own opinion. Overall mortgage lending fell back a third in April as a stamp duty hike for buy-to-let investors came into force and estimating that gross mortgage lending reached £18.5bn in April - this was 29% or £7.7bn lower than March's lending total of £26.2bn.

In reality debt has had an adverse effect on people’s lives all across the country whether you are taken to court or otherwise. Borrowers need to be pro-active and obtain various sources of advices to ensure they are presented with all of the options available. I feel it is incumbent upon any organisation acting in this space that they present to people all of the potential solutions and not just those solutions that suit their organisation - people before their profit.

If you find yourself in Negative Equity the important thing to know is you are not alone in looking for a solution and all of us at GDP Equity Experts are working on this together. My message has always been clear – educate yourself. The more informed you are, the better decision you will take. There is a real danger of being told what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear - so always ensure you get Real Honest Expert Advice.

Darwin AllenComment