Mortgage arrears and repossessions fall: CML

Some 149,400 loans, representing 1.33 per cent of the entire stock of mortgages, had arrears equivalent to more than 2.5 per cent of their mortgage balance at the end of the third quarter. This was down from 154,900 during the second quarter, representing 1.38 per cent.

The figure was also down compared to 2012 levels, with the number of mortgages in arrears at 154,900 during the second quarter, and 159,100 in the third quarter.

Repossession rates also fell from 7600 in the second quarter to 7200 in the third quarter of 2013, compared to 8200 for the third quarter of 2012. The CML’s repossession forecast will now be revised downward from its original estimate of 35,000.

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Meanwhile, remortgaging activity during 2013 rose to its highest levels for six years, according to data from chartered surveyor and estate agency Connells.

During the 10 months to October, the total number of remortgage valuations arranged through Connells was up by 55 per cent compared to October 2012, and 9 per cent higher than the previous yearly record, set in 2007.

Valuation activity was also up year-on-year for home movers (up 29 per cent), first-time buyers (up 37 per cent) and for buy-to-let customers, with the number of valuations rising by 42 per cent compared to October 2012.

The positive valuation and repossession data has mirrored strong overall house price performance, with the Land Registry’s House Price Index revealing last week that the average house price rose from £161,531 to £167,063 in the 12 months to September.

Adviser View

Jane King, adviser for London-based Ash-Ridge Private Finance, said: “Home buyers are taking advantage of schemes like Help to Buy, and I can definitely see a bubble forming. Regarding repossessions, I think that lenders are being pragmatic and can see that the market is picking up, and are making arrangements with people to extend forbearance.”