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CML reports little change in mortgage repayment problems in second quarter

Published: 11 August 2011

The number of properties taken into possession by first charge mortgage lenders in the first half of 2011 was 7% lower than in the first half of 2010, according to the latest quarterly data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. The data shows that 9,000 repossessions occurred in the second quarter of the year, slightly lower than the total of 9,100 in the first quarter, bringing the total to 18,100 for the first half of the year, compared to 19,500 in the first six months of 2010.

The total number of mortgages in arrears was also broadly unchanged in the second quarter of the year. However, there was a slight increase in the number of mortgages with low levels of arrears, and a reduction in the number in deeper arrears.

The number of mortgages in arrears of between 1.5% and 2.5% of the outstanding balance edged up from 77,800 to 78,500. But those in arrears of more than 2.5% of the balance declined from 166,700 to 164,500. Overall, the number of mortgages more than 1.5% in arrears declined to 243,000 in the second quarter of this year, from 244,500 three months earlier. 

The CML today confirms that it is not making any revision to its arrears and possessions forecasts on the basis of experience in the first half of the year. The current forecast is for a repossession rate of 0.35% this year, and 0.4% in 2012, equating to 40,000 cases of repossession in 2011 as a whole, and 45,000 next year. On arrears, the forecast is for a steady position of 180,000 mortgages in arrears of 2.5% or more of the balance, representing 1.58% of the total 11.3 million stock of first-charge mortgages.

Commenting on the data, CML director general Paul Smee said:

"Mortgage repayment problems have stabilised against a current backdrop of stable employment and low interest rates. Despite current uncertainty in financial markets, we see no need to revise our forecasts. Anyone with debt worries should take advice and speak to their lender at the earliest opportunity, as most temporary financial problems can be resolved.

"It is clear from the low rate of repossession that lenders do want to keep people in their homes, and are successfully doing so in the vast majority of arrears cases. Repossession really is seen as a last resort."

Notes to editors

1. The Council of Mortgage Lenders' members are banks, building societies and other lenders who together undertake around 94% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK. There are 11.3 million mortgages in the UK, with loans worth over £1.2 trillion.

2. CML arrears and repossessions figures relate to the UK as a whole. No breakdown of data is available for the regions or for individual countries within the UK.

3. CML arrears and repossessions data for the third quarter of 2011 will be published on 10 November 2011.


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