Should I sell my house now to avoid falling into negative equity?

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Q I bought my first house last year for £240,000. However, my personal circumstances have changed and I have been thinking about looking for a new job. I work in a niche industry where vacancies don’t arise too often and I would probably have to relocate if I changed employer.

Given the current talk of recession, I’m terrified that if I find a new job later this year or next year, my house value will have fallen. If I let it out, the rent would just cover the mortgage and the tax to pay would be quite hefty. Should I sell now and move into rented accommodation with the view to moving in the next year or so to avoid falling into negative equity?

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A Judging by the various expert predictions of what will happen to house prices over the rest of 2022, the chances of your falling into negative equity are slim. For you to be in negative equity, the value of your house would have to fall to below that of your outstanding mortgage. So if you took out a mortgage last year for 90% of its £240,000 purchase price, the value of your house would have to fall to £216,000 for negative equity to be a potential problem.

Even the most pessimistic prediction of future house prices – from Halifax – does not predict falling house prices but suggests that at worst prices will not move or at best will rise by 2%. So I think it is safe for you to sit tight and wait until you have a firm job offer and know for certain where you will be moving to.

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