CML: “Mortgage arrears don’t necessarily mean repossession is inevitable”

Mortgage lenders repossessed 9,200 properties during the third quarter of 2011, a slight increase on the second quarter figure of 9,100, according to latest survey data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
The third quarter figures equate to a total of 0.08 per cent of all mortgages, the same as five out of the last six quarters.
In total over 27,000 properties have been repossessed, 4 per cent fewer than the same period in 2010.  Based on the latest figures it looks likely that repossessions will be fewer than CML’s forecast of 40,000 repossessions for 2011.
Paul Smee, Director General of CML, commented:
"The fall in the number of mortgages in arrears, and the stable picture on repossessions, are testament not only to the beneficial effects of low interest rates, but also to effective arrears management, and good communication between lenders, borrowers and debt counselling organisations.
Against the backdrop of widespread financial uncertainty sweeping both the UK and the wider European economies, it is impossible to be sanguine about the future influences that households may face. But lenders will do their utmost to help borrowers keep their homes, whatever pressures emerge. Anyone worried about their mortgage should seek early advice and talk to their lender: these figures firmly show that repossession does not have to be an inevitable consequence of mortgage arrears."
The number of households in mortgage arrears fell slightly to 161,600, 1.44 per cent of all loans, which is down 8 per cent on figures for the end September 2010.
Irrespective of these improvements, cases with significant arrears, more than 10 per cent of the outstanding balance, stand at 27,300.
The fall in repossession figures has been attributed to the extended forbearance of lenders but with ongoing financial pressures there are significant challenges in retaining the improved trend regarding arrears.
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