SARAH BOUGHT her one bedroom apartment in Swords for €300,000- her mortgage repayments are €1,450 a month. When her job relocated down the country, she had little choice but to move. With the apartment now valued at €170,000, she can’t sell it, and has no choice but to rent it out bringing in €750 and leaving her to add another €700 every month.
She is paying rent down the country, management fees of €600 for the apartment, lost her mortgage relief because she is renting the apartment and the final insult – has to pay the €200 property tax on it because it is not her principal private residence. It is her only property but because she doesn’t live in it, she’s hit!
Meanwhile Ann is a public servant who took out her mortgage on her own two years ago on a 5.4% fixed rate for five years. At that time she was earning €3,500, but now as a result of levies and cuts in pay her wages are below €2,900 every month. She has already negotiated a three month freeze with interest only repayments which has now expired and all her savings have been used up. She firmly believes she could lose the house.
Although the names are false, these women are real. Like tens of thousands of others, they are the real victims of the property collapse. Yet they’re not worthy of any bail-out. Unlike the developers and speculators who caused the problem and were able to ring-fence many of their assets and sign over properties to their families’ mortgage free. And then they got the NAMA give-away as they couldn’t pay back their multi-billion euro loans!
There’s no bail out for the victims of this situation – a really graphic example of the two-tier nature of Irish society. The developers should have been allowed to collapse, the banks nationalised, not the cosy Anglo-Irish “nationalisation” which means tax-payers footing the bill, but the state taking over the bank and seizing the assets of those with big debts, not buying them off them at a premium.
The money and resources would then be used to review the real values of properties and reduce the loans accordingly, rather than the limited “concession” of refusing to move to repossession for six months! The enormous crisis of debt and negative equity being experienced by the victims of the boom is a social time-bomb that is wrecking devastation on tens of thousands. The budget will make it worse. It’s time for the unions to bring this issue centre-stage.