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Mortgage repossessions at low point, CML says

15 November 2013

Mortgage repossessions across the UK in the third quarter of 2013 were at their lowest since the publication of quarterly figures began in 2008, the Council of Mortgage Lenders has announced.

The figure of 7,200 for July to September was down from 7,600 in the second quarter and 8,200 in the third quarter of last year.

Also down was the number (and proportion) of mortgages in arrears, across each of the arrears bands. A total of 149,400 mortgages, representing 1.33% of the entire stock of mortgages, had arrears equivalent to more than 2.5% of their mortgage balance at the end of the third quarter. This was down from 154,900 (1.38%) in the second quarter, and 159,100 (1.4%) in the third quarter of 2012.

The figures cover both homeowner and buy-to-let arrears and repossessions. Arrears in the latter market, which accounts for around 13% of UK martgages, are lower than in the homeowner market, though the repossession rate is a little higher, accounting for 1,500 of the 7,200 repossessions.

For the full year the CML is now forecasting a total of fewer than repossessions, compared with the start-of-year forecast of 35,000.

Welcoming the reductions, director general Paul Smee observed: "Anyone who does face the prospect of difficulty can be reassured that repossession really is a last resort. By talking to their lender as soon as possible, most can resolve their temporary problems, without the lender resorting to repossession. It also makes sense for people to think ahead now to how they will manage their finances to cope with higher interest rates, and higher mortgage payments, as and when rates rise in the future."

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