Mortgage borrowers who have recently fallen into arrears are more likely to have started repaying them if they spoke promptly to their lender rather than waiting.
New research from the Building Societies Association (BSA) has revealed that the vast majority of borrowers who fell into arrears over the last two years have not faced repossession and remain in their homes.
While a third have repaid their arrears in full, a further 41% were in the process of repaying them and another 12% had not started paying the shortfall back but had come to an arrangement with their lender. Just 3% were found to have had their property repossessed by their lender.
Significantly, however, 46% of borrowers who had spoken to their lender before getting into financial difficulty had repaid their arrears, compared with just 19% of those who had waited a number of weeks before making contact.
"While falling into mortgage arrears is always a worrying experience for the individuals involved, most borrowers do manage to repay their arrears and stay in their homes," said Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the BSA.
"The results highlight the importance of borrowers contacting their lender as soon as they face potential payment difficulties, and of seeking independent advice. Doing so enables the lender to consider all reasonable options to assist the borrower.
"Borrowers that have been in arrears believe that their lender has been helpful and has treated them fairly. Those that face payment problems should therefore not be daunted by their arrears, but should take control of the situation by seeking help as soon as they can."
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