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Repossession orders jump 17%

The number of repossession orders issued has jumped 17 per cent in the past year, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders records the number of properties actually taken into possession and forecasts almost twice as many repossessions this year as last year – 45,000 compared to 27,100 in 2007.

The MoJ recorded 27,530 mortgage repossession orders in Q1 this year compared to 23,438 in Q1 2007. Nearly 38,700 mortgage repossession claims were issued in Q1 2008, 16 per cent more than Q1 2007, where 33,344 claims were issued.

Liberal Democrats Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable says the number of families threatened with repossessions is on course to be the highest since 1991, at the height of the Tory recession.

He says: “Repossession claims have skyrocketed since last year. Many families could well end up losing their homes in the months ahead. The Prime Minister’s pride and stubbornness has made him completely unwilling to recognise the dangers in the housing market. It is over-stretched households that will pay the price. This Government must stop having vague discussions with mortgage lenders and instead clearly lay out the procedures which must be followed before a property can be repossessed. Repossession must only ever be a last resort. Lenders must seek all possible alternatives before taking such action.”

Conservative Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps says: “We called on the Government to provide greater debt advice more than 18 months ago and in the last three months David Cameron has urged mortgage lenders to warn borrowers when cheap rates were coming to an end and to consider staggering rate rises.

“While we welcome the Government belatedly getting on board, it’s too little too late and does nothing to help the 27,000 families who have already experienced repossession. The Prime Minister could reassure the housing market by ditching HIPs and axing Stamp Duty for first time buyers on properties up to £250,000. It’s time for Gordon Brown to do another u-turn by adopting our housing policies.”


Halifax shuts SVR door on new clients

Halifax will no longer accept mortgage applications for its standard variable rate from new customers. Its SVR will still be available for existing clients at the end of their product term and for existing customers seeking additional lending.

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Sam Shaw is a reporter on Money Marketing
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