One-third of home owners in negative equity, average ‘debt’ €61,000

The number of people living in houses which are worth less than their mortgage rose sharply last year, the national statistics office CBS said on Friday.

Over one-third of households now live in ‘negative equity’ compared with 13% at the beginning of 2008.  The average debt has also risen to €61,000, the CBS said.

Two-thirds of the people affected by negative equity are under the age of 45. In total, 4.3 million households live in their own home, of which 83% have a mortgage..

At the same time, house prices are stabilising. Existing owner-occupied dwellings were on average 1.7% cheaper in February 2014 than in February 2013.

Nevertheless, although house prices were still below the level of the same month last year, their price level has remained fairly stable over the past eight months.

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