Business

Fewer homes repossessed amid low mortgage rates

Houses Image copyright PA
Image caption The number of repossessed properties had already been at a record low

The number of homes repossessed in the UK fell again in the second quarter of the year as fewer owners fell behind on mortgage repayments.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said that 2,500 homes were repossessed in April, May and June, down from 3,000 in the previous quarter.

This was also a fall from 5,400 in the same quarter last year.

Lenders said low interest rates were keeping the numbers down but homeowners must prepare for a rate rise.

"This trend is very welcome. Low interest rates are acting as a significant support for homeowners in general, and are likely to be helping to stave off low level arrears for stretched households in particular," said CML director general Paul Smee.

"As ever, we urge borrowers to think ahead to when interest rates rise, and to contact their lender without delay if they are in difficulty. Prompt action helps to prevent problems worsening."

Earlier this week, it was revealed that more than a million householders had never experienced a rise in the Bank of England's base rate while owning a home.

Some 11.1 million mortgages are outstanding in the UK, with loans worth more than £1.3 trillion.

The CML figures showed that 1,800 homes were repossessed from owner-occupiers, and 700 were seized from landlords in in the buy-to-let market in the second quarter of the year.

The number of owners falling into arrears on mortgage repayments had also fallen in the second three months of the year compared with the first quarter, the CML said.

Some 100,700 owner-occupiers, and 5,700 landlords, had arrears of more than 2.5% of the mortgage balance.

Ministry of Justice figures, also published on Thursday, show that the number of homeowners in England and Wales facing court action at the earliest stage of the repossession process fell during the second quarter of the year.

However, the number of tenants evicted by landlords in the second quarter of the year rose by 4% compared with the same period last year, to 10,361. Seasonally adjusted figures show a 1% decrease compared to the first three months of the year.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "These figures are a stark warning that relentless rent rises and welfare cuts have contributed to thousands of hard-pressed families losing their home."

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