Negative equity concerns recede, but will it last?
Concern among homeowners about the dangers of negative equity has fallen, according to a survey carried out by the HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance.
The survey found that 42% of UK adults say they are concerned about negative equity, compared to 44% last year, 49% in 2015 and 64% in 2014.
These figures come after a steady increase in house prices, but with house prices falling in recent months, can this trend continue?
HomeOwners Alliance founder and CEO, Paula Higgins, said; “In our latest House Price Watch, we show that house prices are falling for the first time in years.
We surveyed people in February of this year, so I expect there could be a big change when we go back to them next year, if the trend shown in our House Price Watch continues.”
House prices fall.
Average house prices fell 0.4% in April to £207,699, marking the first time prices have fallen for two consecutive months in five years, following a 0.3% fall in March.
According to the HomeOwners Alliance: “House prices have fallen for the first time in years alongside slower market activity.
There appear to be two factors at play contributing to the slow-down, continued uncertainty caused by Brexit and the snap general election, as well as squeezed household budgets, as wage growth slows and inflation rises.”
Robert Gardner, Chief Economist at Nationwide, suggested the fall could reflect the wider situation in consumer finances, which he said have come under increasing pressure from rising inflation and weak growth in wages.
“While monthly figures can be volatile, the recent softening in price growth may be a further indication that households are starting to react to the emerging squeeze on real incomes or to affordability pressures in key parts of the country,” he said.
Mr Gardner also said that the outlook for the property market over the coming months was unusually difficult to forecast due to uncertainty surrounding the general election and Brexit negotiations.
The pressure on consumer finances was reflected in the HomeOwners Alliance survey.
Among aspiring first time buyers, 86% say house prices are their greatest concern, while 85% say they are struggling to save for a deposit.
Dealing with negative equity.
While the survey shows concerns about negative equity have fallen, it can still be a serious problem if you need to move house or cannot keep up with your mortgage repayments. If you find yourself in this situation it is important to seek professional advice.
Negative Equity UK has helped thousands of people restructure or write off debt and our expert staff can offer advice on how to deal with your financial situation. After an initial free consultation, we offer a paid review of the mortgage agreement after which our staff can negotiate with the bank on your behalf.
Other useful services exist as well. Citizens Advice offers a free, confidential and impartial debt advice service and Christians Against Poverty is a debt counselling service that specialises in helping people who are also struggling emotionally.