The number of homes taken into possession fell 16.6 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2013, according to figures released today by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
In the first quarter there were 8,000 repossessions, compared with 9,600 in the first quarter of 2012. This means around 0.07 per cent of outstanding loans were repossessed in the first quarter, representing fewer than 1 in 1,400 mortgage properties taken into possession.
Around 20 per cent – 1,600 – of the first quarter repossessions were on buy-to-let properties.
The first quarter figure was up on the 7,700 repossessions in the fourth quarter of 2012, although the CML says this is the “usual seasonal pattern” for the time of year.
Arrears remained fairly stable. At the end of the first quarter some 159,800 mortgages had arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the mortgage balance, which is equivalent to 1.4 per cent of all mortgages. This is the same proportion both as the last quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2012.
The CML forecasts 35,000 repossessions in 2013, with 160,000 mortgages in arrears of 2.5 per cent of more.
CML director general Paul Smee says: “Mortgage arrears and repossessions have stabilised at levels lower than many anticipated when the economic downturn started. Low interest rates, continuing employment, lender forbearance and tactical public policy support have combined to ensure that repossession really is a last resort.
“Anyone who is worried about their mortgage can be assured that, as long as they take steps early to address them, most problems can be contained. Lenders very much want to enable people to stay in their homes wherever they have sustainable prospects of getting their mortgage back on track.”