The rate of home repossessions was 44% higher in the North than in the South in 2013, according to research from e.surv chartered surveyors.
Its analysis of court-ordered repossessions in England and Wales in 2013 shows there were 5.6 repossessions per 1,000 households in the North, compared to 3.9 per 1,000 households in the South. This compares to 6.3 and 4.4 respectively in 2012.
The North West, North East and Wales were repossession blackspots in 2013, with 6, 5.9 and 5.8 repossessions per 1,000 households respectively. The South West showed the biggest improvement, with repossessions falling 15 per cent over the past year.
"Both the North West and the North East are still paying the price of recession-driven public sector job cuts which stimulated a glut of local repossessions," said Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors. "The whole country is now in recovery, but the North has the furthest to go to catch up, and is comparatively lagging behind.2
Total repossession court-orders fell 10 per cent from 59,588 in 2012 to 53,325 in 2013, with numbers falling in every region of England and Wales.
In total, 86 per cent of towns in the North West had more repossessions than the average in England and Wales in 2013. North-West town Oldham had the highest rate of repossessions – with 8.6 per 1,000 households, almost double the average number in England and Wales (4.7). Other North West towns in the top ten repossession postcodes included Wigan (fourth highest with 7.4), Blackpool (fifth with 7.0), Liverpool (ninth with 6.9) and Manchester (tenth highest with 6.8).
Lancaster (4.6) and Carlisle (4.1) were the only towns in the North West to have lower than the average number of repossessions. Carlisle saw repossessions fall 26 per cent year-on-year, and Harrogate experienced a fall of 23 per cent.
Repossessions are falling more slowly in London than in any other region of the UK. The repossessions rate in the capital fell eight per cent between 2012 and 2013, compared to 11 per cent across England and Wales.
"London may be the nerve centre of the UK, but it is not improving as quickly as other regions in terms of repossessions," said Richard Sexton."Punitively high house prices mean there are a whole host of buyers on the outskirts of the capital who are struggling to keep up with mortgages repayments. Areas like Romford, Croydon and South East London still have high levels of repossessions."