Home repossessions at lowest level since records began in 2008

Friday, 15 November 2013 08:54

The latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show that the number of homes being repossessed in the UK has fallen to its lowest level for six years.

The CML said just six in 10,000 homes were repossessed between July and September 2013, the lowest quarterly figure since the CML began keeping records in 2008 and down from seven in 10,000.

There were just 7,200 repossessions in the last quarter, again the lowest level since records began and down from 7,600 in the previous quarter and 8,200 in the third quarter of 2012.

This represents a fall of 5.3 per cent from the last quarter. 

CML director general Paul Smee said: "The continued reduction in payment difficulties is obviously very welcome. Anyone who does face the prospect of difficulty can be reassured that repossession really is a last resort.

"By talking to their lender as soon as possible, most can resolve their temporary problems, without the lender resorting to repossession.

"It also makes sense for people to think ahead now to how they will manage their finances to cope with higher interest rates, and higher mortgage payments, as and when rates rise in the future."

Mr Smee warned however that households do need to be prepared for higher mortgage repayments when interest rates do finally go up. 

There was also a further fall in the number of people who are in arrears on their mortgage.

The CML said the proportion of people behind with their payments fell across each of the arrears bands.

The number of households in mortgage arrears is 10,000 less than was the case 12 months ago.

149,400 mortgages, equivalent to 1.33 per cent of the entire stock of mortgages showed arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the mortgage balance at the end of the third quarter.

This was down from 154,900 (1.38 per cent) in the last quarter and 159,100 in the third quarter of 2012 (1.40 per cent).

Meanwhile, arrears in the buy-to-let market are even lower. Buy-to-let mortgages account for 13 per cent of the overall market but just nine per cent of the total number of mortgages in arrears.

However, the CML said the repossession rate is a little higher for buy-to-let properties at 0.10 per cent compared to 0.06 per cent.

Of the total of 7,200 repossessions, 1,500 were buy-to-let.

The CML said the number of repossessions for the year is likely to be lower than 30,000, against the CML’s prediction of 35,000. This would be the lowest annual figure since 2007.

The CML said it had forecast 37,000 repossessions in 2014 but would revise down this figure when its next forecast is made in December.

Mr Smee added that he will be sorry to see the end of the government’s mortgage rescue scheme which closes to new applications in March 2014.

“While the 5,000 households helped directly through mortgage rescue may seem relatively small, the benefit to those households was huge,” he said.




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