Increasing numbers of homeowners are struggling to pay off mortgages across the country and negative equity is becoming a major issue for a large segment of Ireland’s population. Many hard-pressed, financially vulnerable homeowners are now caught in a debt trap and it has been estimated by year-end that 350,000 homeowners will be in negative equity. While other economies are slowly coming out of recession, if our homeowner debt situation is not addressed it could greatly hamper our chances of recovery.
On RTE’s Monday night program, “Aftershock: Where to now”, Matt Cooper suggested that the state should step in with a “swap of debt for equity” scheme which is commonly used to rescue companies that get into difficulty, to stop them going bust. “The swap of debt for equity is not pain free for the borrower, as they would lose part ownership of their home but it would make their repayments more manageable.”