Stop Repossessions Org UK Sees Rise in Negative Equity Repossessions

As 2008 marches on and the global and economic situation looks ever more bleak, so are the tales we are hearing from UK homeowners facing repossession.

Back in 2007 a rough estimate would be that 70% of those people who contacted us by phone or email had some difficulties with their mortgage repayments, were in arrears but were also in a position to:

a) Repay the arrears over a given period either by direct agreement with their mortgage lenders or by a court judgement.

b) Remortgage with a new lender in order to get a fresh start with a new payment record appearing on their credit score

Fast forward and now it is rare that we are hearing from people who have enough extra monthly income to repay their arrears over time and many lenders (especially the sub prime) are refusing to accept repayment plans to pay off morgage arrears.

The majority of people contacting us are now also at the start of the negative equity trap.

The true and actual cost of their borrowings, (which consists not just of the amount borrowed but also the huge penalties, legal and court fees and Early Redemption Penalties), have risen dramatically, whilst the value of their homes is in many cases starting to stagnate, if not fall.

A homeowner who previously remortgaged their £200,000 home with a 90% mortgage (£180,000) and who has either added a secured loan (say £10,000 – new total £190,000) or had a County Court Judgement for unpaid credit card bills of a similar amount, and who has an early redemption penalty of say £7,000, may be mortgaged to £197,000.

One missed mortgage payment and not only can the interest rate rise dramatically so that monthly costs are hugely increased, but legal fees and punishing penalty fees will be also be added.

Suddenly we could be looking at redemption costs of over £200,000.

Sell the house?

Not always possible.

Estate agents will charge a minimum of 1%, more if you go with multiple agents. That’s at lease £2000. Legal fees and the Government’s ridiculous HIPs pack will add another £1500.

It’s now going to cost £3,500 to sell the home and get nothing in return.

But it doesn’t stop there.

If you remortgaged before the Northern Rock crisis hit in September 2007, then the chances are that your lender was giving signals to surveyors to over value properties.

The market is always rising so why not let them over value your home and then lend you more money in return for more profit?

By the time you may be in trouble house prices should have risen by enough to bring down your mortgage level to less than 100% – just in case they need to repossess.

But the reality is that homes are now only selling if the price is right.

Now it’s a buyer’s market again.

Houses which comfortably sold for £200,000 back in 2007 are now sticking in agent’s windows at £189,000.

Suddenly it could cost you as much as £10-20,000 to buy your way out of repossession.

But who is going to lend you the money to pay the costs?

It is not going to happen.

If you do have equity in your home then you do have options to avoid repossession find out here

More Homeowners Face ReMortgage Hell as Lenders Pull 100% loans

Homeowners facing finance problems may be a step closer to repossession as mortgage lenders pull their 100% loans.Cheltenham & Gloucester Cut 100% mortgages

This means that for those who need to remortgage soon, not only are rising interest rates from sub prime lenders and falling or static house prices an issue, but they may now find that they are unable to remortgage to the full value to pay off their current mortgage with an existing lender.

If a property worth £100,000 was 100% mortgaged 2 years ago and has fallen in value even by a few percent, then this means that a new mortgage may only cover around £88,000 towards paying off the existing mortgage.

The result?

Many will be unable to remortgage, will fall into the dreaded negative equity not seen since the early 90s, and will be forced onto so-called standard interest rates with their current lender.

With some sub prime lenders this is 10% or more.

This news in from The Guardian online:

“Cheltenham & Gloucester will tell homebuyers today that they must put down a minimum deposit of 10% if they want one of its mortgages, as the clampdown on lending gathers pace. Meanwhile, Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest are withdrawing from offering mortgages for more than 95% of a property’s value.

C&G – owned by Lloyds TSB – is one of the biggest mortgage providers to rein in its lending in response to the credit crunch. The change means that a typical first-time buyer in London will have to stump up almost £25,000 to obtain one of the company’s home loans.

RBS/NatWest has already pulled out of offering mortgages above 95% through brokers; after March 7 this will also apply to branch-based home loan applications.”

Read the full article here

The Return of Negative Equity as House Prices Fall Again?

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has said that according to the information collected from their members that this December shows a fall in house prices in real terms, unprecedented since the early 1990s.

This is further bad news for those facing repossession.

Negative Equity Graph

Not only are the rises in inter bank lending interest rates causing problems for those on sub prime mortgages and those trying to remortgage, but the drop in house prices and fall in sales also means that for many homeowners the equity left in their homes is shrinking for the first time in many years, and heading towards the dreaded negative equity last seen in the lat 1980s.

Negative equity can occur when the amount of money mortgaged against the property is greater than the value of the property.

For those on an 85% mortgage it means that house prices need to fall 15% to allow that to happen.

But for the tens of thousands on 95% mortgages, it means that if your house was worth £200,000 and your mortgage was £190,000, it only takes a relatively tiny fall of £10,000 in the market value to put you in the negative equity bracket.

If you then face problems paying your monthly mortgage you will literally have run out of equity to remortgage.

For those on 100% mortgages acquired in the last 12 months ANY fall in prices can mean instant negative equity.