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Number of repossessions steadying

Number of repossessions steadying

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 10/05/2012
First Published: 10/05/2012

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The number of people suffering from repossessions appears to be steadying, having consistently risen in recent years.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has reported 9,600 repossessions for the first three months of 2012 – the same as in the first quarter of 2011.

It breaks the recent trend of year-on-year increases in repossessions.

Repossessions in the first quarter were higher than the 8,700 that took place in the fourth quarter of 2011, but this represents a normal seasonal pattern. The CML said that the 'repossessions landscape appears stable for the time being'.

"Combined efforts by borrowers, lenders and money advisers are ensuring that payment difficulties are being managed effectively, with the result that the number of repossessions remains relatively low," said Paul Smee, director general of the CML.

"Repossession really is a last resort, as the numbers show. Anyone worried about their mortgage should be assured that lenders will try to help them get back on track, as long as this is a realistic prospect."

The stabilisation of repossessions means the CML may revise down its 2012 repossession forecast of 45,000, although it warned that changes to welfare, rising mortgage rates and continuing pressures on finances all have the potential to disrupt the current stable picture.

Through the first quarter of the year, there was also a modest improvement in the total number of mortgages in arrears.

The number of mortgages with arrears of 2.5% or more of the outstanding balance fell to 157,800 (1.4% of all loans), down from 160,300 at the end of December 2011 and 170,500 at the end of the first quarter of 2011.

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