Home repossessions "stable", arrears in decline says CML

There were 9,600 home repossessions in the first quarter of 2012 according to the Council for Mortgage Lenders, a figure which remained "stable" when compared to the first quarter of 2011.

Though the figures show a rise in repossessions compared to the final quarter of last year, they also broke a trend of year on year increases seen recently, which could suggest that borrowers are taking control of their mortgage repayments.

The number of mortgages with arrears of more than 2.5% fell from 160,300 the end of 2011 to 157,800 in the first quarter of 2012. The number of loans 5-7.5% in arrears also fell, with those in the 7.5-10% arrears band falling to the lowest level since 2008.

The only band to show a year-on-year increase were those in arrears of 10% or more, which at 28,000 were at their highest level since mid 2000. However, the Council for Mortgage Lenders this as “purely the result of a lender's change in reporting practice; if practice had not changed the number would be lower than in the previous quarter.”

Paul Smee, director general of the CML said:

"Combined efforts by borrowers, lenders and money advisers are ensuring that payment difficulties are being managed effectively, with the result that the number of repossessions remains relatively low.

Repossession really is a last resort, as the numbers show. Anyone worried about their mortgage should be assured that lenders will try to help them get back on track, as long as this is a realistic prospect."

The Council for Mortgage Lenders’ represents around 95% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK.