Repossession cases at 34 year low

Repossession cases at 34 year low

The number of properties repossessed last year declined by almost 25 per cent, according to new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Last year's total of 7,700 cases of repossession compared with 10,200 in 2015, and was the lowest number since 1982.

Over the course of 2016, the number of mortgages in arrears also fell by 7 per cent.

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CML director general Paul Smee said: “It is encouraging to see another improvement in arrears and possessions during a year in which borrowers were clearly helped by the downward trend in mortgage rates.

“But customers do need to be ready for a time when the outlook may not be so benign, with pressure on real incomes increasing and as interest rates begin to move upwards again.

“As ever, borrowers who fear they may miss a payment should speak to their lender.

“Lenders remain committed to helping borrowers work through any period of temporary payment difficulty and remain in their home wherever possible.”

The number of repossession cases declined in the fourth quarter of 2016, as well as over the year as a whole.

In the final three months of the year, 1,800 properties were taken into possession, down from 1,900 in the preceding quarter and 2,200 in the final quarter of 2015.

At the end of last year, there were 94,100 mortgages with arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance, a slight increase on the total of 93,300 at the end of the third quarter.

But that compared to a total of 101,700 at the end of 2015.

There was, however, an increase over 2016 in the number of mortgages with arrears of more than 10 per cent of the balance, from 23,700 to 26,000. 

But the CML said this figure may have been distorted by the timing of repossession actions. 

In the buy-to-let sector, the number of mortgages in arrears was unchanged in the fourth quarter of last year, at 5,000, but 11 per cent lower than at the end of 2015.

The number of buy-to-let properties taken into possession in the final quarter of last year was unchanged, at 600, but lower than in the last three months of 2015.