The Northern Ireland Repossessions Taskforce has released its overview of the Northern Ireland housing market.
Northern Ireland house prices now stand at 50 per cent of their 2007 peak level. Negative equity affects 41 per cent of borrowers and Northern Ireland has the UK’s highest level of buy-to-let arrears.
Economic recovery is stagnant, with 2013 median gross weekly earnings of full-time workers the lowest in the UK.
So what does the future hold?
The taskforce will consider long-term solutions to Northern Ireland’s challenges and make recommendations later this year.
There may have been a feeling of doom and gloom in the past, but data for the past 12 months shows hints of recovery. Mortgage lending for house purchases is up 35 per cent in the first quarter of the year compared with last year, with first-time buyers helping to drive market growth.
House prices have finally started to rise again – a Nationwide report found they were up 8.4 per cent year-on-year, and mortgage repossession cases in court have fallen 14 per cent in the first quarter compared with last year.