Homes at repossession risk up by quarter

The number of homeowners at risk of losing their homes has risen by nearly a quarter in the past year, figures showed today.







Government data showed a total of 28,658 mortgage possession orders were made in England and Wales during the second quarter of this year, up 24 per cent from the same period a year ago. It is a 4 per cent rise compared to the first three months of 2008.



Today's figures from the Ministry of Justice relate to court activity which may not result in a possession. As a result the figures are usually higher than those published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), which last week reported 18,900 UK repossessions, up 48 per cent on the same period last year.







A mortgage repossession order is granted by a court and entitles the claimant - usually a lender - to apply to have the occupier evicted. A claim is issued in a county court and begins an action for a repossession order.

The MoJ said there were 39,078 mortgage possession claims in the second quarter of 2008, an increase of 17 per cent on 2007 but unchanged on the first quarter.



The number of repossession claims reached a 15-year high at 137,591 last year and has continued to climb as the higher cost of mortgages hits homeowners following a series of interest rate rises last year.



In recent months homeowners have had to re-fix their mortgages at significantly higher mortgage rates after the cheap fixed loans they took out several years ago expired.



Lenders have also become increasingly risk-averse amid the credit crunch, with many people at the end of short-term deals finding it hard to remortgage and often forced on to their lender's more expensive standard variable rate.







Housing charity Shelter said mortgage lenders were "still using repossession as the first rather than last resort" and said the proportion of people coming to the charity for help with mortgage possession actions over the past six months had increased by 55 per cent.

Chief executive Adam Sampson said: "Every day Shelter is seeing more and more ordinary hardworking people who are terrified of losing their homes. They're being punished by rising household bills, escalating fuel charges and food prices that are going through the roof.



"Tens of thousands are living with the fear of having the home they've worked so hard for being repossessed by lenders with little compassion."



Mr Sampson urged people who are finding it difficult to meet their mortgage payments to seek advice early.



He added: "Lenders must play their part and ensure they look at all the options before rushing to the court, and use repossession as the last rather than first option.



"The Government needs to show it really is on people's side when they are facing the threat of repossession."



A Government spokesman said today's statistics relate to court orders and that action can still be taken to avoid repossession.



Housing Minister Caroline Flint said: "Whilst we are not seeing repossessions on the same scale as the early 1990s, we are making sure the right advice and support is available for the minority of borrowers who may need it at the moment because of global economic pressures.



"As well as expanding free legal representation in county courts for households at risk of repossession, we are providing more free debt advice, and are working closely with lenders to ensure that repossession is only ever a last resort.



"These services can make a real difference, with more than 80% of repossessions avoided when they are used. It is important that families who have concerns seek advice at the earliest opportunity, starting by speaking to their lender.

News
news
Sport
Lewis Hamilton with the Santander trophy after winning last year’s British Grand Prix
F1It's the race organisers who are to blame, apparently
News
peopleFormer Disney CEO isn't going to win any fans with this quote
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test