An overview of the 2015/16 Northern Ireland Housing Statistics
The Department for Communities have released the 2015/16 Northern Ireland Housing Statistics. These statistics cover a broad range of areas including homelessness, rent levels, and trends in the owner-occupier sector.
18,628 households presented as homeless across 2015/16; 60% of these households were awarded ‘Full Duty Applicant’ (FDA) status. 3,303 of these households had their FDA duty “discharged” over the year.
The primary reasons for households presenting as homeless were their current accommodation being not reasonable; a family dispute or sharing breakdown; and the loss of rented accommodation.
The Housing Executive are currently consulting on their draft 2017-2022 Homelessness Strategy; the Department for Communities, meanwhile, will be publishing proposals on regulation of the Private Rented Sector in January. Check the Policy & Research section of our website for briefings on these issues.
The average household rent in the Private Rented Sector was £94 per week; social rent levels were lower, at £77 for housing association properties and £67 for Housing Executive properties.
Rent levels are an area of ongoing policy change, with Welfare Reform, the proposed extension of LHA rates to social housing, and proposals for a new Social Housing Rent Policy for Northern Ireland all set to have major impacts in the social and private sectors.
House prices rose by 5.4% over 2015/16; however, they remain significantly below their 2007 peak, meaning a significant number of owner-occupiers continue to be in negative equity on their homes.
Mortgage repossession cases fell by 48% between 2014/15 and 2015/16. One significant contributor to this fall in possession cases was strategic legal action taken by Housing Rights, which uncovered widespread poor practice amongst mortgage lenders and led to many repossessions being suspended until the issues we raised were resolved. The Financial Conduct Authority have recently announced a proposed package of remediation for customers affected by these poor practices; however, the resolution of these issues is likely to lead to a significant increase in repossession actions.
Home-owners struggling to keep up with their mortgage, or at threat of repossession, can contact our Mortgage Debt Advice Service on 0300 32 30 310 or chat to an adviser online.