The number of court orders granted to mortgage lenders, allowing them to repossess the homes of customers who have defaulted on their loans, rose by more than 12 per cent between the first and second quarters of the year, breaking through the 30,000 mark for the first time since the housing crash of the early 1990s.
According to figures from the Ministry of Justice, the number of orders made hit 30,220 for the three months to the end of June, up 31 per cent on the same period last year. The number of repossession claims made fell slightly between the first and second quarter. However, on a seasonally adjusted basis, they were up marginally, and up by 17 per cent on the same period last year.
The biggest rises came in the West Midlands, south-west England and north-east England, where the number of repossession orders were up 43, 39 and 38 per cent respectively compared with the same quarter in 2007. Several towns – including Dudley, Nuneaton, Lincoln, Norwich and Salisbury – have now seen the number of repossession orders more than double in just 12 months.
Louise Cuming, head of mortgages at the financial comparison site moneysupermarket.com, said: "Sadly these figures come as no surprise. The rising cost of borrowing and tightening of lender criteria was always going to hit the most vulnerable borrowers hardest and fastest."
The Ministry of Justice also produced figures for the number of landlords evicting tenants from their properties, which have also risen on a seasonally adjusted basis, but only by a few percentage points. Simon Gordon, of the National Landlords Association, said that the numbers were proof that landlords were continuing to exercise tolerance with their tenants. "Fewer and fewer landlords are going to court to issue possession claims against their tenants and even fewer are being granted possession orders," he said.