"let the lenders deal with the negative equity." - exactly.
The Mail and express are always going potty about house prices, and usually how immigrants are bringing them down. We are far too obsessed with owning a house, and even worse is the obsession with squeezing every last penny out of them (i.e. buying for profit being worse than buy to live and hoping the price rises).
The case described here is fairly instructive and well worth taking note of. Houses are no be all and end all