House repossessions soar to 12-year-high

The number of UK house repossessions jumped by 48 per cent in the first half of the year to its highest level for 12 years, figures showed today.

A total of 18,900 homes were taken back by lenders after their owners failed to keep up with mortgage repayments - the equivalent of 0.16 per cent all mortgages, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said.

The CML forecasts that 45,000 homes will be repossessed by the end of the year as cash-strapped borrowers struggle to repay their mortgages.

The Financial Services Authority fired a warning shot to lenders earlier this week after finding that specialist mortgage firms were "too ready" to take court action against borrowers.

Today's half-year data compares with 120,800 homes repossessed at the end of June 2007 and 129,600 at the end of December.

The CML said the rate of repossession, at 0.16 per cent, was now the highest seen for 10 years.

But it stressed this was still low in the context of the entire mortgage market and less than half that experienced amid the housing market crash of the early 1990s.

Today's figures also reveal that the number of mortgages three months or more in arrears has risen by 29 per cent year on year to 155,600 at the end of the first half.

This is equivalent to 1.33 per cent of all home loans, although the number of mortgages more than six months in arrears was 0.58 per cent of all loans.

Housing charity Shelter said today's figures were "shocking", adding that hard-pressed homeowners are also now only given state help after nine months, too late to prevent many from losing their homes, it claimed.

Chief executive Adam Sampson said: "Behind these figures are thousands of families facing sleepless nights worrying about how to make their next mortgage payment, and many thousands more will be waking up to the frightening reality of repossession.

"Government urgently needs to step in to prevent thousands more families from losing their homes and provide the significant financial support troubled homeowners need to keep a roof over their head."

The CML recently set out plans to minimise the number of people who have their homes repossessed as the figures soar higher following the credit crunch.

It said members had committed to four measures to help borrowers, including reviewing its own policies and a pre-action protocol to ensure that repossession is a last resort.

However, the findings of a Financial Services Authority review earlier this week found that specialist mortgage lenders were too quick to take borrowers to court and were focusing their efforts too strongly on recovering arrears.

The FSA is also considering referring several firms to enforcement action after uncovering irresponsible lending practices among lenders, particularly those in the sub-prime market, such as failure to check borrower income.

Howard Archer, chief economist at Global Insight, said the CML figures showed borrowers were increasingly struggling, but added that the Bank of England was unlikely to be able to offer relief soon in the form of lower interest rates.

Yesterday the Bank voted to keep rates on hold for the fourth month in a row, at 5%, and are not expected to trim the cost of borrowing until at least towards the end of the year.

"Current elevated inflation levels and risks mean that the Bank of England is unlikely to provide any help to financially stretched individuals by cutting interest rates any time soon," said Mr Archer.

"Indeed, there is still a genuine possibility that the Bank of England could even raise interest rates, which would be an alarming prospect for a number of households."

Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
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

    Junior Research Analyst - Recruitment Resourcer

    £18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £25K: SThree: SThree Group has been well estab...

    Senior Analyst - Financial Modelling

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...

    Associate CXL Consultant

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

    Business Anaylst

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

    Day In a Page

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform