Remortgage 

UK ‘repossession hotspot’ revealed

UK ‘repossession hotspot’ revealed

Middlesbrough has been declared the country’s repossession hotspot, holding 44.3 mortgage possession claims per 100,000 households.

Sellhousefast.uk, a firm specialising in repossession issues, found the north-eastern town, alongside north-western Oldham and the Essex borough of Thurrock were “most at risk” of possession claims.

Oldham held 43.6 mortgage possession claims per 100,000 households, while Thurrock held 43.2 claims between July and September 2017.

Sellhousefast.uk excluded the City of London from its data, which had posted the highest number of repossession claims at 59 per 100,000 households, because its small population meant actual claims amounted to a mere three properties.

The firm based its research on data released periodically by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), which showed mortgage possession claims were on the up.

According to the latest set of data published in November, claims increased 6 per cent to 4,757 cases in the quarter July to September 2017, as compared with the same quarter in 2016.

They had previously fallen from a peak of 26,419 in April to June 2009 before stabilising in April to June 2015 (4,849). 

Orders for possession made in county courts followed a similar trend, falling from a peak of 23,850 in July to September 2009, to their lowest level of 2,685 by July to September 2016.

Between this point and the most recent quarter (July to September 2017), orders increased 26 per cent to 3,376, the MoJ stated.

On the other side of the spectrum the three local authorities with the fewest mortgage possession claims in the past quarter were Islington (2.7 per 100,000 households), South Northamptonshire (2.6) and Cambridge at 1.9. 

The Isles of Scilly, Ryedale, Rutland and Tewkesbury were found to have had no mortgage possession claims at all.

Managing director of Sellhousefast.uk, Robby Du Toit, said: “The prospect of repossession is daunting – and rightly so. 

“Every year, it is expected 100,000 families in the UK will lose their homes to missed mortgage payments.”

He said people affected should try to seek legal representation or speak to their lender.

“You can talk to your lender about your arrears at any point, even if they’ve started legal action. Communication – at all levels – is key,” Mr Du Toit said.

Mortgage arrears – jointly with council tax – is believed to be the biggest source of debt in households across the UK, with debt charity StepChange putting it at 31 per cent among its clients.

Typically, the average mortgage arrears amount is a total of £3,581, the charity said.

carmen.reichman@ft.com

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