PHOTO: Perth mortgage holder Adam Hughes’ family home lost $56,000 in value within three years. ABC News: Frances Bell

Adam Hughes never imagined buying a modest family home in Perth’s outer suburbs would lead him into financial turmoil, struggling to pay a mortgage he can no longer afford.

Key points:

  • Negative equity is when a person owes more than their property is worth
  • The highest rates of negative equity are in WA, the NT and Queensland
  • People struggling to make mortgage repayments are urged to seek help

The full-time mechanic and father of two bought a three-bedroom house in Byford for $336,000 in 2015.

Within three years, it was valued at just $280,000.

Making matters worse, Mr Hughes went through a relationship breakdown, involving costly family court proceedings.

If he was to sell the house, he would be staring at a $56,000 debt, so he was forced to stay put. But as the bills piled up, he fell behind in his mortgage repayments.