Repossession numbers fall

The tally of repossessions in the UK has fallen – though this will be no consolation to the 37,000 people suffering such a fate in 2010.

The tally of repossessions in the UK has fallen – though this will be no consolation to the 37,000 people suffering such a fate in 2010.

Such thoughts may be prominent today (February 10th) as two sets of statistics emerged showing the levels of homes being taken back by lenders are in decline.

Firstly, the Council of Mortgage Lenders revealed there were 36,300 repossessions in 2010 on first charge mortgages, which may be terrible news for each of those suffering such a fate, but was only 0.3 per cent of all mortgages.

And the tally has been clearly falling, with 7,900 cases in the final quarter of 2010 compared with 8,900 in the third quarter, an 11 per cent drop and 26 per cent lower than the last three months of 2009.

In addition to this, the number of people in mortgage arrears was down by 13 per cent.

Having less people behind with payments to start with, therefore, has played a part in the lower repossession figure but the numbers would indicate this is not the whole cause and forbearance on behalf of lenders is a factor.

This was certainly the view of head of consumer finance at the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) Fiona Hoyle, following news that only 864 second charge properties were taken back in 2010 – even lower than the FLA’s own prediction for the final annual total of 900-950 made as late as November.

Ms Hoyle said repossessions are a “last resort” for lenders, but at present it seems fewer are being driven to this point.

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