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Commenting on the latest forecast from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, debt consolidation experts debtadvisersdirect.co.uk warn homeowners and would-be homeowners to prepare for tough times ahead – and if necessary seek debt advice.

“The CML anticipates a 7% year-on-year drop in house prices by the end of 2008,” says a debtadvisersdirect.co.uk spokesperson. “After a decade of rapid growth, this is clearly an unwelcome shock to homeowners. If they’re thinking of moving, they may feel compelled to accept a low offer if they wish to sell their property before prices drop further. And anyone seeking to consolidate their debts with a secured loan or remortgage may have less equity to draw on. They may wish to wait for conditions to improve before they consolidate their debts – and if they can’t wait, they may well have to consider alternative debt solutions, such as a debt management plan or IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement).”

“Naturally, people with high-LTV mortgages are particularly worried about negative equity: when a property’s value is less than the debt owed, the owner can be ‘tied in’ to their property, unable to sell it to clear their mortgage debt. Anyone in that situation should seek debt advice without delay.”

“What’s more, the current lending squeeze (a major contributory factor to the housing market’s problems) means that many potential first-time buyers can’t take advantage of falling prices – so today’s tighter lending criteria are depriving the housing market of the demand that could help bolster those prices.” As CML director general Michael Coogan puts it: ‘Over the next few months, lending volumes will get worse before they get better.’ The CML expects 35% fewer property transactions in England and Wales than last year, with net lending down by around 50%.

Looking beyond homeowners and would-be homeowners, this can have a major impact on the whole nation’s economic health. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that UK retail sales fell in both March and April, leading economic experts to predict further erosion of consumer confidence and a knock-on impact on employment. “From solicitors and estate agents to removal firms and decorators, a slowdown in the housing market affects a wide range of people, who may find themselves with lower disposable incomes (or even unemployed). At the same time, would-be homeowners are spending less as they save up for massive deposits.”

“Clearly, any reduction in disposable income indicates a decreased ability to make monthly repayments to debts – so in times of economic stress, it’s particularly important for borrowers to get their finances in order. Given the current lending squeeze, it’s essential that people in financial difficulties talk to a debt adviser who specialises in helping people with adverse credit ratings. Debtadvisersdirect.co.uk doesn’t ‘just’ provide debt advice. We provide a wide range of debt solutions, from debt consolidation loans to debt management plans, IVAs, remortgages and managed bank accounts.”

About debtadvisersdirect.co.uk (http://www.debtadvisersdirect.co.uk/)

Debtadvisersdirect.co.uk helps people with financial difficulties, providing free advice and tailor-made debt solutions. For more information, contact Melanie.Taylor@debtadvisersdirect.co.uk (0845 056 6480) or visit the debtadvisersdirect.co.uk website at http://www.debtadvisersdirect.co.uk/.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Debt Advisers Direct in the following categories: Personal Finance, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.