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CML reports 19,000 repossessions in 2008

The Council of Mortgage Lenders have revealed there has been nearly 19,000 home repossessions in the UK so far this year.

In the first half of 2008 there were 18,900 cases where lenders took possession of property, according to the CML’s latest arrears and repossession statistics.

This compares with 13,400 in the second half of 2007, and 12,800 in the first half of 2007.

The proportion of all mortgages on which possession occurred in the period was 0.16 percent in the first half of 2008, up from 0.11 percent in both the first and second halves of 2007. This rate now mirrors the rate of the late 1990s, but is still half the rate of the early 1990s.

The total number of households with arrears of three months or more was 155,600 at the end of the first half of the year, up from 129,600 at the end of 2007 and 120,800 at the end of the first half of last year.

The CML is maintaining its forecast of 45,000 total possessions and 170,000 mortgages in arrears of more than three months by the end of the year.

CML director general Michael Coogan says: “It is inevitable that more borrowers’ coping strategies will come under pressure in current conditions than in the unusually benign years of the last decade.

“No-one wants to see a household lose their home, and repossession typically leads to a loss for the lender as well. The focus of lenders’ arrears management policies today is on seeking realistic alternatives that balance the interests of customer and lender.”

Intermediary Mortgage Lenders’ Association executive director Peter Williams says: “This is not mortgage meltdown as we saw back in 1991 when we saw 36,600 home possessed in the first half of the year and 75,500 in the full year. Indeed these latest figures suggest the current situation isn’t as bad as some suggest.

“A priority must be to revamp the government’s income support for mortgage interest scheme. This is dangerously out of date now in terms of its coverage of the market – the mortgage value limit for assistance is only £100,000 and kicks in only after 38 weeks. A decent ISMI scheme would stop people getting into difficulties and keep them in their homes.”

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