The number of homes repossessed in the UK fell to the lowest level in four years in 2011.
Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show the number of repossessions by mortgage lenders last year amounted to 36,200 – the lowest annual total since 2007.
For the fourth quarter of 2011, the number of repossessions was 8,500 – nearly 9% down from 9,300 in the third quarter, but 5% up from 8,100 in the fourth quarter of 2010.
On arrears, there continued to be a modest improvement across all arrears bands in the fourth quarter, and in 2011 as a whole compared with the previous year.
At the end of 2011, 159,400 mortgages had arrears equivalent to 2.5% or more of the mortgage balance, 7.5% down from 172,400 at the end of 2010.
But despite the stable number of repossessions and arrears last year, The CML expects worsening unemployment and other pressures to inflate figures this year.
The CML anticipates that this is likely to result in around 45,000 repossessions and around 180,000 mortgages in arrears of 2.5% or more by the end of the year.
"Low interest rates and good arrears management by lenders are helping the vast majority of those borrowers who face difficulties to keep their homes and get back on track," said Paul Smee, director general at the CML.
"This will continue, but in the face of wider economic difficulties and rising unemployment, we are concerned that there will be a higher number of people facing more serious problems in 2012.
"Anyone worried about their finances should talk to their mortgage lender and take advice on their other debts as soon as possible."
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