Every week, more than two families in the Dungannon District go through the trauma of losing their home, with the number of repossessions increasing sharply in the space of one year.
According to the latest figures released by the Northern Ireland Courts Service, homeowners in the Dungannon District now face the greatest risk of repossession West of the Bann.
During 2013, lenders took 118 local homeowners to court with a possession claim, which is the first step in repossessing a home, making the district one of Northern Ireland’s repossession hotspots.
In all, there were 91 mortgage cases disposed in the Dungannon District in that year, more than twice the number in Cookstown, 42, and Magherafelt, 41.
Sinn Fein MLA Bronwyn McGahan expressed her concern that home repossessions are still on the rise in the South Tyrone area.
“If the number of repossessions continue to grow at this rate it will add to the ongoing housing crisis in the Dungannon/South Tyrone area.
“Apart from making people homeless it also places an enormous stress upon families with some having to find accommodation at different locations.
“I am calling on the mortgage providers, landlords and banks to reach an agreement with tenants that allow them to remain in their homes.”
A taskforce set up by the Northern Ireland Assembly to investigate the impact of repossessions, blames the high house price to earnings ratio, relaxed credit conditions and peer pressure during the boom for the high number of borrowers here in negative equity.
Remarkably, 41 per cent of borrowers with mortgages advanced since 2005 are in negative equity.