Repossessions increased by 15 per cent in the first quarter, according to figures published today by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
In the fourth quarter of last year there were 7,900 repossessions compared to 9,100 in the first three months of 2011. This was 10 per cent down on the 10,100 repossessions in the first quarter of last year.
The number of mortgages in arrears continued to fall, with the number of mortgages with arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance falling by 2 per cent from 170,000 in December 2010 to 166,900 – 1.47 per cent of all loans – in the first quarter.
The arrears figures mark an 11 per cent improvement on the 187,300 loans in arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance recorded a year earlier, making it the lowest share of mortgages in arrears since the third quarter of 2008.
CML director general Michael Coogan says: “In essence, good arrears management practice is a balance between giving households every chance to rehabilitate and get back on track, and limiting the damage in the minority of cases where this is not going to be achievable.
“Looking ahead, the financial position of many households is likely to be stretched for some while, and some will inevitably find themselves in difficulty. Lenders have a range of options to nurse borrowers through temporary problems, but will clearly need to be mindful of the regulator’s concern that too much forbearance may be as bad as too little.”