Shelter response to latest Council of Mortgage Lenders repossession figures
Responding to new Council of Mortgage Lenders figures showing there were 8,900 repossessions in July-September this year, Campbell Robb, Chief executive of Shelter said:
“While repossessions are lower than predicted, annual levels are still the highest we have seen since the mid 1990s and the number of people in more than 12 months of arrears has more than trebled in the last two years. It is therefore very poor timing for the Government to cut one of its most important homeowner support schemes by 40 per cent.
At Shelter we have seen a ten percent increase in calls to our homeowner helpline from Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) claimants who won’t be able to keep up their mortgage payments now their support has been reduced. Alongside this, research released by Shelter today shows one in six homeowners are constantly struggling to pay their mortgage, a 78% increase in a year. “With so many worried homeowners getting in touch with us following cuts to SMI and many more struggling daily, we are extremely concerned that thousands of people are being pushed into a dangerous spiral of debt and, ultimately, homelessness. Lenders must do more to help by moving people who are stuck on high rates to one that matches the support provided so that struggling homeowners are not faced with a shortfall and avoid losing their home.”
Examples of the calls coming through to Shelter’s homeowner helpline include a young working mother of three children who will now face a shortfall of £350 per month and a pensioner couple on a fixed term mortgage will now have to make up a shortfall of £157 per month following the cuts to SMI. Both cases called the helpline because they are extremely worried about becoming homeless as a result.