County Down house-builder in receivership

Northern Bank sign The firm's last accounts indicated that the Northern Bank was owed more than £6m

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A County Down house-builder has been placed into receivership by the Northern Bank.

Hans Crosby & Son was based in Saintfield and had been trading for more than 70 years.

It operated mainly in the Ards and south Down areas.

The company's last filed accounts, for the year ending August 2010, indicated that it made an annual loss of £2m, mainly as a result of writing down the value of its sites.

The accounts also indicated that the bank was owed more than £6m.

The housebuilding sector in Northern Ireland has been badly affected by a price crash and banking crisis.

House prices have fallen by around 50% while the value of development sites, particularly outside Belfast, is down by as much as 90%.

The volume of house sales is far below its peak and stricter lending criteria at banks makes it more difficult to get a mortgage.

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