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.

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - City, London

    £50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions