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Home repossessions down over 50%

Tuesday 21 June 2016

There was bad news for bailiffs, but good news for everyone else, as home repossessions fell by almost 52% year-on-year.

Data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) showed repossessions in the first quarter of 2016 were down 26% on the previous three months – the lowest quarterly figure since records began in 2008.

And according to figures from chartered surveyors e.surv’s latest repossession report, the North-South divide may well be closing too, as repossessions in the North fell to a rate of 2.1 per 1,000 households, compared with 1.4 per 1,000 in the South.

A 0.7 gap between the two regions was recorded for 2015, whereas in 2014, the difference was 1.3 homes per 1,000.

CML director general Paul Smee warned against ‘misplaced complacency’, but described the underlying picture as one of ‘improvement and a continuing reduction in mortgage arrears and repossessions.’

The total number of repossessions has declined

The total number of home repossessions has declined from 39,928 in 2014 to 19,672 in 2015, but Northern towns still account for 90% of all repossessions.

For the 14th year, Bolton heads the league table of repossessions across England and Wales with a rate of 3.5 per 1,000 households, with Sunderland close behind (3.1 per 1,000), while Oldham and Liverpool tie for third place (3.0 per 1,000).

Experts remain concerned about the potential effects of interest rate increases on homeowners who are struggling to keep up with repayments.

e.surv director Richard Sexton said the reclaiming of homes ‘remains an acutely northern problem’ with repossession rates higher than average in 75% of towns.

He said a combination of factors - including public sector job losses, the decline of manufacturing industries and the effects of a prolonged recession – had hit home owners and prospective buyers in the North particularly hard.

Government interventions like the Northern Powerhouse initiative and the promise of devolution were already restoring economic confidence in Northern towns and cities, he said.

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