The Brooks' mortgage is for100 per cent of the original price and they are now stuck with a massive 44 per cent of negative equity. They want to move to start a family but have had to delay having children to dig themselves out of debt.
"They always said you can't lose on bricks and mortar. But all of a sudden we lost pounds 28,000. I try not to think about it too much. It gets too depressing," said Mrs Brooks.
The flat, on a newly-built housing estate, has only one bedroom. To have children they need to move to a bigger home. "Once we had a baby, we knew we wouldn't be able to save. We've got to get a new place first," Mrs Brooks said.
Abbey National, the Brooks' current mortgage lender, is prepared to bail them out with a 125 per cent mortgage, to enable a move into a new and bigger house. But the Brooks calculate they will still need to save between pounds 10,000 and pounds 15,000 before they can take up the offer.
Their joint income is pounds 30,000-pounds 35,000, and they are finding it difficult to meet their current commitments as well as save. So far they've managed just pounds 3,500.
"We hardly go out any more, and holidays are out of the question," Mrs Brooks said.