Page last updated at 01:15 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 02:15 UK

Dramatic rise in housing problems

Row of for sale signs
More people have turned to Citizens Advice Scotland over housing problems

The tide of repossessions is starting to affect more affluent Scots as well as those with poorer credit backgrounds.

Citizens Advice Scotland has seen a dramatic rise in cases coming to them in the last year.

Chairman Graham Blount, said: "We've seen a sharp increase in the last year or so even in people coming to Cabs with problems of housing debt and housing, housing arrears leading to repossession.

"We seem anecdotally to be picking up a bigger proportion than previously of home owners and the suggestion is that much of that is about people who one way or another were encouraged to take out mortgages in some cases six times their annual income - which seems crazy.

"But with the credit crunch, their current income has dropped - either they've lost their jobs, they're getting fewer hours, they're self-employed, their income has gone down or whatever, so there are more and more people who, because they were fully extended getting towards over-extended, are now getting into trouble much, much quicker."

"Some Cabs are reporting clients who've got mortgages that are six times their income.

"Now clearly that's hardly sustainable even if your income remains the same or even goes up slowly over the years, but barely sustainable at that and you're very vulnerable if your income for any reason should drop as is happening to many people in the present climate."

Citizens Advice Scotland recommends that homeowners in trouble contact them at the earliest opportunity.

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