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Home repossessions fall to 1990 levels

Home repossessions had fallen to their lowest level since 1990 and arrears on mortgages had also improved sharply, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said yesterday, writes Jill Treanor. In the second half of 1996 the number of properties repossessed by mortgage lenders fell 23 per cent from the first half of the year to 18,460.

That is the lowest number since the first half of 1990 and less than half the peak in the second half of 1991 of 38,000.

But the CML warned that problems lurked in the pipeline, such as the prospect of higher interest rates which could jeopardise the improvement.

So could any further cuts in mortgage interest tax relief or in state support for mortgage interest payments during unemployment.

"Given the improved position, the CML hopes that whichever party forms the new government will not take any financial measures which might set back current progress by reducing the sustainability of homeownership for borrowers in difficulties," said Michael Coogan, director general of the CML.