More than 600 homes repossessed in Derry since 2005

More than 600 properties in Derry were repossessed between 2005 and 2011, new figures reveal.

Statistics obtained by investigative journalism website thedetail.tv reveal that in that seven year period a total of 626 properties in the city were subject to Final Possession Orders (FPO), in which the court makes a ruling to deliver possession of the property within a specified time.

It is understood the majority of FPOs in the north relate to domestic properties.

University of Ulster housing expert Professor Paddy Gray says the impact of repossession is far reaching.

“No one wants to see anybody losing their property and what people should remember when looking at these figures is that these are people’s lives we’re talking about here.

“It can break up families, it’s not just the stress of losing the house, the lead up can sometimes be the worst part.

When house prices were rising dramatically, people were jumping on the market as quick as they could without thinking of the consequences,” he says.

Derry had the second highest number of repossession according to thedetail’s data, in which Belfast topped the list of local councils.

Over the seven years a total of 1245 FPO’s were made in Belfast.

In Strabane the figure stood at 204 and in Limavady the total number of FPOs stood at 164.

Meanwhile new figures have also emerged that show there are more than 1200 empty houses listed with the Land & Property Services, the body responsible for rates collections.

The statistics. released in the Assembly by the north’s Finance Minister Sammy Wilson show a total of 1246 houses in Derry recorded as being vacant as of the end of December.

In Strabane the number of vacant homes currently stands at 906 while in Limavady a total of 701 domestic properties are listed as vacant.