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Arrears continued to fall in first quarter, says CML

Published: 11 May 2017

The number of mortgages in arrears fell slightly in the first quarter of 2017, and is down on both the previous quarter and a year ago, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. There were 92,600 mortgages in arrears, representing 0.84% of all mortgages, the lowest quarterly rate on record.

Within the total stock of arrears cases, all arrears bands except the most serious showed a fall. However, the stock of cases with arrears of over 10% of the mortgage balance rose to 26,500. Although this is a small number within the total mortgage market, it does suggest that there is a minority cohort of borrowers for whom arrears are worsening.

Chart 1: Arrears on mortgages, 2.5% or more of balance outstanding

Chart showing arrears on mortgages, 2.5% or more of balance outstanding

Source: CML Economics

Download the data

The number of properties taken into possession was also 10% down on a year ago (though up on the fourth quarter, reflecting a usual seasonal pattern). In total, 1,900 properties were taken into possession - the eighth successive quarter of a repossession rate of 0.02%.

Chart 2: Number of possessions, buy-to-let and owner-occupied markets

Chart showing repossessions, buy-to-let and owner-occupied markets

Source: CML Economics

Download the data

In line with the normal trend of recent times, the buy-to-let arrears rate was lower than the owner-occupier arrears rate, but the repossession rate was higher. This is because of the high level of forbearance that lenders typically seek to extend to home-owners to try to enable them to resolve their difficulties and keep their homes wherever possible.

Chart 3: Arrears by bands as a proportion of total balance outstanding

Chart showing arrears by bands as a proportion of total balance outstanding

Source: CML Economics

Download the data

Paul Smee, CML director general, commented:

This positive picture of mortgage performance is good news, and reflects a continuing benign interest rate and employment environment. However, it is important that borrowers continue to think about the future, and how they would cope with less positive conditions, even if that scenario seems distant.

Lenders will always work with borrowers to try to help them through the inevitable periods of difficulty that life may throw at them, such as periods of unemployment, illness or relationship breakdown. So anyone facing difficulty should not hesitate to make contact with their lender, who will wish to help them resolve their difficulties and remain in their home wherever possible.


Notes to editors

1. The Council of Mortgage Lenders' members are banks, building societies and other lenders who together undertake around 97% 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. Due to a change in methodology used to compile CML arrears and possession data, to improve the quality of results, there is a break in the data series between the first and second quarters of 2014. The figures are, however, directly comparable back to the second quarter of 2014.

3. CML arrears and possessions figures are for the UK as a whole. There is no breakdown of data for English regions or individual countries within the UK. 

4. The Ministry of Justice's mortgage and landlord possession statistics can be found on the website. These include quarterly national statistics on possession claim actions in county courts by mortgage lenders and social and private landlords.

5. CML arrears and possessions data for the second quarter of 2017 will be published on Thursday 10 August 2017.

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