15,700 properties were repossessed by banks in the first half of 2013 which is in line with the Council of Mortgage Lenders forecasts for 2013 of 35,000. The Council expects the 2013 to mirror the figures in 2012 which were in themselves a five year low.
The number of mortgages in arrears were also down to a total of 157,700 figures last seen in 2008. However, those struggling with severe arrears of 10 per cent or more of the balance was unchanged between the first and second quarters of this year at 30,300.
The number of repossessions has levelled out and this could be attributed to the historically low Bank of England interest rates of 0.5 per cent. The Bank of England recently announced that the interest rate would remain at this level for the foreseeable future or until we all get jobs providing some relief for households.
Jackie Bennett head of policy at the CML aired a word of caution to borrowers and reiterated that ‘As ever, the key message for those borrowers is that they should talk to their lender as soon as possible if they believe they are in danger of missing a mortgage payment.’
Homeowners in mortgage arrears or with other secured debts are most at risk of repossession and these are the type of people we help on a daily basis. Every year, the Stephensons team assists hundreds of people facing debt and repossession. In many cases, they can successfully challenge the threat of repossession. We would always advise people to seek advice early, rather than wait for mortgage arrears to build up.
By Shaun Newcombe, housing law team