The Council of Mortgage Lenders has just published statistics on mortgage arrears and possessions.
Worringly but hardly surprising, the figures for 2008 show a sharp rise on the same period last year.
Key Facts include:
• 5,000 fewer repossessions than forecast in 2008
• 40,000 repossessions in the year – 1 in 290 mortgages
• 10,400 repossessions in the fourth quarter – 1 in 1,100 mortgages
• 1 in 64 mortgages in arrears of 2.5% or more
• 1 in 53 mortgages in arrears of three months or more (inflated by lower interest rates)
• 75,000 repossessions forecast for 2009 remains unchanged
Around 10,400 properties were taken into possession by first charge mortgage lenders in the fourth quarter of 2008, down from 11,100 in the previous quarter but up from 6,900 in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
The total number of first-charge repossessions in the year was an estimated 40,000.
This was 5,000 lower than the CML’s original forecast for the year.
The fact that there were 11% fewer repossessions than expected, despite a worsening economy and unemployment rising by the thousands daily, appears to show that the mortgage lenders appear to be listening to the Government somewhat, to ensure that repossession really is a last resort.
It is important to recognise that repossessions include a proportion of abandoned properties and property fraud. They also include buy-to-let repossessions, as well as home-owner repossessions.
In the majority of cases where home-owners are committed to working with their mortgage lender to keep their home the CML states that repossessions can be avoided.
Better Still to avoid home repossessions with Mortgage Protection Insurance.