Hang on to your homes
Published at 14:08, Friday, 20 August 2010
Fewer people are expected to lose their homes this year after mortgage lenders reported a decline in repossessions in the second quarter.
A total of 9,400 homes were repossessed during the three months to June, down 400 from the previous quarter, and 2,400 below the figure for the same period of 2009, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
The figure led the CML to revise its forecast for total repossessions in 2010 as a whole. It now predicts 39,000 repossessions for the year, compared with November’s estimate of 53,000 and the 47,700 reported in 2009.
The number of mortgages behind with payments also fell. At the end of June there were 178,200 loans with arrears equivalent to 2.5 per cent or more of their mortgage balance. This was five per cent lower than at the end of March, and 17 per cent lower than a year earlier.
The CML is now expecting 175,000 mortgages to end the year 2.5 per cent or more in arrears, compared with the previous forecast of 205,000.
Low interest rates, increased lender forbearance and the introduction of Government schemes to help people who are struggling to keep up with their mortgage have helped to reduce this week’s figures.
But the CML warned that any hike in interest rates and a rise in unemployment could put borrowers in a precarious position, and urged the coalition Government to maintain its support for homeowners.
CML director-general Michael Coogan said: “While we don’t want to cry wolf, it seems obvious that the ongoing prognosis for arrears and possessions is far from a healthy all-clear.
“We hope the coalition Government will not risk undermining the chances of extending the welcome trends this year by removing support mechanisms that work.”
A total of 980 families had so far completed the Mortgage Rescue Scheme, under which vulnerable households who are facing repossession can sell some or all of their home to a social landlord and rent it back.
The CML’s optimistic figures were tempered by warnings from the Government that more people were being forced into selling their home before any court action was taken against them.
Ministry of Justice figures show a fall in the number of repossession orders made by courts in England and Wales. A total of 17,774 mortgage repossession claims were issued in the second quarter of 2010, on a seasonally adjusted basis, five per cent lower than the previous quarter, and 30 per cent lower than the same period in 2009. This led to 13,389 repossession orders being made, seven per cent fewer than in the first quarter of 2010 and 29 per cent lower than in the second quarter of 2009.
The numbers of mortgage repossession claims issued and claims leading to orders made have been on a downward trend since the first quarter of 2008, the Ministry of Justice said.
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk