Debt collections soar, negative equity falls

terraced housesThe number of home owners in negative equity has fallen below one million, while debt has increased.

In 2014, the number of debt collections carried out reached a record 4.2 million. Around €7bn in debt has yet to be collected, according to sector organisation NVI.

This is an increase on 2013 when 3.6 million debts were collected worth a total of €6.3bn.

The increase in debt affects both companies and private individuals.

The increase is due to companies turning to debt collection agencies rather than sending in the bailiff, the NVI says. This is cheaper for the debtor and less confrontational.

Negative equity

Around 25% of home owners are now in negative equity, according to the Rabobank. That is just under one million households, down from 1,070,000 in 2013. The bank expects the number to drop again in 2015 to around 940,000.

The bank told the Financieele Dagblad that this should have a positive effect on the Dutch housing market, which is showing signs of recovery.

Much of the improvement comes from people paying off part of their mortgage. Around 20% of home owners in negative equity currently have a debt of under €10,000, the Rabobank’s Paul de Vries told the FD.

The bank, the Netherlands’ biggest mortgage lender expects the number of houses sold to rise this year to between 150.000 and 170.000 and prices to rise 1% to 3%.

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