A North-South divide in the housing market is widening as figures reveal there are 33% more home repossessions in this region.
The analysis by e.surv chartered surveyors showed the gap to be its starkest since the start of the economic downturn, with three repossessions for every 1,000 households recorded in North East postcodes this year.
The difference in the repossession rate has doubled since 2007, with a rise in joblessness coupled with property boom in parts of the South thought to be the root cause.
Nationally, repossession numbers are falling with mortgages becoming less expensive and wages increasing slightly, but the North East is “playing catch-up” with southern regions.
Peter Marshall, Money Advice Caseworker with the Sunderland Citizens’ Advice Bureau, said: “We see 2,000 clients a year for debt advice and over recent months we have seen more people who are who are experiencing difficulties meeting their mortgage or secured loan payments or their rent.
“This is a major cause of concern for us as the implications of losing your home can obviously be huge. Financial difficulties can result in a range of problems such as health issues (both physical and mental) and family break-ups.
“We feel that there are is combination of factors involved; with static or falling incomes coupled with rises in living expenses such as gas and electricity, fuel and food.”
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv, said: “As a region, the North has traditionally depended on public sector jobs, but a squeeze in public sector funding has led to loss of jobs for many, and very slow pay increases for others. Pay increases that are consistently below the rate of inflation, have further tightened household budgets, and caused many to fall behind on mortgage repayments.
“There is still a long way to go before the Northern property market returns to its pre-recession health, and all the while the North is still playing catch-up, and falling further and further behind the South.”