Borrowers in negative equity falls 13%

The number of UK borrowers in negative equity has fallen by 100,000 since the first quarter of 2011, from 827,000 to 719,000, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

In its fortnightly News and Views letter, the CML says this 13% decline leaves around 10% of borrowers in negative equity when the Halifax House Price Index is used as a benchmark. The analysis measures data up until the end of the second quarter of this year. If the Nationwide House Price Index is used, this figure drops to 5% based on reports of smaller house price declines.

The CML says: “Given the sensitivity of findings on negative equity to the choice of index used, our analysis based on the Halifax [House Price Index] could be seen as a “worst case” estimate. Perhaps, therefore, it would be better to pay more attention to the overall improvement in levels of housing equity, rather than the numbers produced using different indices. “Since house prices started to fall in 2007, different parts of the UK have experienced significantly different price movements. At one extreme, prices in Northern Ireland are now less than half of the 2007 peak. In London and the south east, however, prices have been much more resilient.”