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Repossessions fall to 10-year low

House repossessions have fallen to the lowest level for more than a decade, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Repossessions in the first six months of this year tot-alled 12,340, down by 9 per cent from 13,620 in the second half of 1999.

Compared with the first half of 1999, the number of properties taken into possession was down by almost 25 per cent.

The CML figures also show a fall in the number of borrowers with long- and medium term arrears.

Borrowers with long-term arrears of more than 12 months dropped by 23 per cent to 22,600 from 29,520 while those with medium-term arrears between six and 12 months were down by 16 per cent to 47,980 from 57,110.

However, the CML is warning that the abolition of mortgage interest tax relief and interest rate rises earlier this year will have already put extra pressure on some household budgets.

It says borrowers should consider whether they need the extra security offered by mortgage payment protection insurance.

Deputy director general Peter Williams says: “These figures are clearly very welcome both to borrowers and lenders. The sharp fall in repossessions reflects the strength of the economy and the housing market as well as the clear commitment of lenders to sustain people in their homes wherever possible and to seek repossession only asa last resort.”

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