Repossessions continue to fall

Repossessions in the final quarter of 2012 fell to the lowest rate since the final quarter of 2007, according to data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The number of properties taken into possession by first-charge residential mortgage lenders fell from 8,200 in the third quarter of 2012 to 7,700 in the fourth quarter.

Annually repossessions fell from 37,300 in 2011 to 33,900 in 2012, with the rate of repossession down from 0.33% in 2011 to 0.30% last year.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: “Falling repossessions levels are a bellweather of an improving economy.

“Lenders are growing in confidence, and feel they have the capacity to support a modest growth in arrears cases, which is music to the ears of borrowers in dire financial straits.”

Mr Sexton said that despite the good news it was an unsustainable strategy and that: “The imbalance between falling repossessions and increasing arrears has been growing since the financial crisis: since the end of 2008 repossessions have fallen 31% but the number of borrowers in serious arrears has increased 18%.

“That trend can’t last forever.”

The number of households in mortgage arrears also fell. 157,900 households ended 2012 with arrears of 2.5% or more of the mortgage balance, compared with 161,400 households at the end of 2011.

Today's Conveyancer