The right time to make their move
Thanks to a changing property market and the flexibility of a bank, the Newell family were able to move house.
And they are delighted to have done so even though they lost about €50,000 due to negative equity on their previous home.
That's because they got a house in Rosses Point with an asking price of €250,000 that would have been €700,000 to €750,000 at the peak of the boom.
Shane Flanagan of DNG Flanagan Ford was the auctioneer.
Forty-year-old Philip Newell is a civil engineer orginally from Belfast.
His wife Lorna works with Failte Ireland in Sligo.
For the past 12 years, they lived in Tullaghan, on the Sligo/Leitrim border.
Philip said: "Tullaghan was a lovely spot.
"We had a great house and we thought it would be our house for forever and a day."
Almost six years ago, their first child, a boy named Noah, was born.
About three-and-a-half years ago, they had their second child, a daughter, Grace.
Now the Newells found their lifestyle had changed.
Philip explained: "We noticed we were doing a lot more driving. We were always running in and out of Sligo to grandparents and cousins.
"It wasn't an issue when we hadn't kids.
"But when we had them we noticed the 25 minutes extra in and out to Sligo."
They also noticed the changed property market.
Philip said: "We started to think as we were at the bottom of the market, now might be a good time to move.
"We put our own house on the market and we had to drop the price three times.
"Although we had 12 years of mortgage payments on our own house, we were still in negative equity.
"It cost us €50,000 to sell the house.
"At the same time, we were getting a house in Rosses Point that we could never afford only for it was at the bottom of the market.
"It was the peak market that pushed us out to Tullaghan in 2002.
"We also noticed that after 12 years of mortgage payments, we were worse off than someone coming out of school at 18.
"All those 12 years of payments were lost.
"If we had rented, we would have been better off."
However, Ulster Bank allowed them to transfer their tracker mortgage.
"That was one of the big factors that motivated us to move," Philip said.
And they were getting a 2,000 square foot house in a prime location at perhaps €500,000 less than they would have paid at the height of the property boom.
All considered, they couldn't complain about losing the €50,000 due to negative equity in their former house.
Their new house in Rosses point had a builder's finish.
Philip explained: "There were no floor finishes, no kitchen.
"We actually ended up knocking walls internally."
Ironically, Philip now finds himself driving to Ballyshannon, where he works with the Department of the Marine.
But it beats all those trips the family previously found themselves making from Tullaghan to Sligo.