CML: Repossessions stabilised
The numbers of repossessions of properties have stabilised, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Figures released by CML today show there were 9,600 repossessions in the first three months of 2012, the same figure as in the first quarter of 2011. Repossessions have gone down year-on-year since they peaked at 13,000 in January to March 2009 but are now flattening out.
Paul Smee, director general at CML, said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said it is ‘extremely worrying’ that repossessions are not falling.
Mr Robb said: ‘With many lenders raising interest rates, hundreds of thousands of struggling homeowners will be worrying how they will cope with an increase in mortgage costs.
‘Just a one per cent increase on a £100,000 mortgage will cost homeowners an average of £55 more each month, and for many this will be enough to tip them into arrears.’
Recent changes to Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) meant families who face repossession will find there is less support available for them, he added.
‘We’re really concerned that government policy to cut the safety net for homeowners at a time of increasing unemployment will inevitably lead to more households facing the devastation of losing their home,’ Mr Robb said.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: ‘No family that has worked hard to buy their own home should be left feeling like repossession is the only option - not when there is help and support on offer to ensure that it is only ever the last resort.
‘Thanks to our work to tackle the deficit, we’ve managed to keep interest rates at record lows, keeping pressure off hardworking homeowners, and meaning we’re nowhere near the levels predicted only three years ago.
‘Even though figures today show that repossession levels are stable, now is not the time to rest on our laurels. Just as the government is tackling the problem head on I would urge struggling homeowners to do the same - I would urge them to take action and take charge, get advice early and use the support on offer.’