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Arrears and repossessions continues to fall, says CML

Published: 14 May 2015

Latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show a fall in the first quarter of this year in the number and the proportion of mortgages in arrears or ending in repossession. A decline was experienced in all arrears bands, and across both owner-occupier and buy-to-let lending.

The total proportion of all mortgages with arrears equivalent to more than 2.5% of the mortgage balance was 1.03% at the end of the first quarter. This was down from 1.05% in the fourth quarter of 2014, and well down on the 1.24% recorded at the same time last year.

In numerical terms, there were 113,900 loans in arrears. Of these, just 24,400 were in the most severe arrears band (more than 10% of balance), equating to 0.22% of all mortgages. This is the smallest number and proportion of mortgages in the most serious arrears band since the end of 2008.

Chart 1: Arrears on mortgages, by percentage of total balance in arrears

20150514 Chart 1 - arrears on mortgages by percentage of total balance in arrears

Source: CML Economics

The proportion of mortgages resulting in repossession in the first quarter was 0.03%, down from 0.04% in the fourth quarter of 2014 and 0.06% in the first quarter of last year. The number of repossessions was 3,100 (down from 4,200 in the fourth quarter of last year, and 6,400 in the first quarter of 2014). [see note 2 to editors]

Chart 2: Repossessions, buy-to-let and owner occupied markets


20150514 chart 2 - possessions buy-to-let and owner occupied markets

Source: CML Economics

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

"Although complacency would be misplaced, the underlying picture continues to be one of improvement and a continuing reduction in mortgage arrears and repossessions. The message remains the same: don't delay in contacting your lender if you are experiencing temporary payment problems, as lenders want to help you resolve them, and will only take possession of property 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 95% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK. There are 11.1 million mortgages in the UK, with loans worth over £1.3 trillion.

2. For technical reasons relating to lenders' processes, the number of repossessions in the first quarter may be showing an overstated reduction. Subsequent quarters may therefore show a compensating effect, but the overall underlying trend is one of continuing gentle downward movement. Arrears numbers are unaffected.

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

4. The Ministry of Justice's mortgage and landlord repossession statistics for the same period can be found on the website. This includes Quarterly National Statistics on repossession claim actions in county courts by mortgage lenders and social and private landlords.

5. CML arrears and repossessions data for the second quarter of 2015 will be published on Thursday 13 August 2015.

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