The number of borrowers with mortgage arrears and having property repossessed has fallen this year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
The CML welcomes the news but it fears uncertain economic prospects mean the numbers could rise.
Lenders took 10,460 properties into possession during the first half of the year – 1.5 per cent lower than the 10,620 homes repossessed in the second half of 2000. This was driven by the number of borrowers with up to six months' arrears sliding by 5 per cent to 90,490 from 86,180 during the second half of last year.
Borrowers more than 12 months behind on repayments fell by 7 per cent to 19,340 from 20,795 – the first time since 1989 this figure has fallen below 20,000.
Director general Michael Coogan says: “It is hard to tell if the next move in interest rates will be up or down. If unemployment rises, more people could find themselves unable to pay their mortgage. We continue to urge all borrowers who have not yet thought about how they would make repayments if they lost their job to take out insurance.”