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Repossessions fall by 24% in 2010

Repossessions from first-charge lenders in 2010 fell by 24 per cent compared with the year before, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

In total there were 36,300 repossessions from first-charge mortgage lenders in 2010, which accounted for 0.3 per cent of all mortgages.

The number of mortgages ending 2010 with arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance fell by 13 per cent on the previous year, standing at 169,600, or 1.49 per cent of all loans.

During the fourth quarter, the number of repossessions was 7,900, down 11 per cent from 8,900 in the third quarter, and down 26 per cent on the 10,700 in the same period a year ago. This was the fifth consecutive quarterly decline in repossessions.

The 1.49 per cent of mortgages with 2.5 per cent or more of arrears at the end of the fourth quarter was the lowest share since the third quarter of 2008 – 1.29 per cent. It compared with 176,100 – a share of 1.55 per cent – arrears cases at the end of September, and 196,000 at the end of 2009, a share of 1,72 per cent.

Meanwhile, the CML says the buy-to-let sector grew by 7 per cent in 2010. At the end of the year there were an estimated 1.3m buy-to-let mortgages outstanding, worth £152bn, accounting for 12 per cent of the total value of mortgages outstanding.

CML director general Michael Coogan says: “As we go through 2011, the number of people facing payment pressures may increase if interest rates rise, and as a result of the spending cuts that have resulted in reductions in the level of public support available.

“We will be monitoring developments closely, but at present we continue to expect the number of arrears and repossessions to be in line with our forecasts of 40,000 repossessions and 180,000 arrears cases as at the end of 2011.”

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