Home-owner repossessions at 36-year low as overall arrears continue to fall

The number of home-owners' properties being repossessed fell to a 36-year low across 2017, a trade association has said.

Across 2017, 4,700 owner-occupied mortgaged properties were repossessed.

This was down from 5,300 the previous year, the figures from UK Finance show.

Paul Smee, head of mortgages at UK Finance, said: "Annual home-owner possessions currently stand at a 36-year low, with overall arrears and possessions continuing to decline.

"This reflects the mortgage industry's continued commitment to appropriate and prudent lending."

  • 1,100 home-owner mortgaged properties were repossessed
  • 82,800 home-owner mortgages were in arrears of 2.5% or more of the outstanding balance
  • 24,700 home-owner mortgages had arrears of 10% or more of the outstanding balance

Ultra-low mortgage rates have been helping to keep borrowers' payments relatively affordable, although some home-owners on variable rate deals felt the impact when the Bank of England base rate increased from 0.25% to 0.5% in November.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also recently issued an alert to home- owners on interest-only mortgages, encouraging them to talk to their lender about how they plan to clear their mortgage debt and warning that, in some cases, those who bury their heads in the sand risk losing their homes.

Mr Smee said: "All potential borrowers are carefully assessed against their ability to pay back their loans, and lenders work closely with their customers to ensure that any payment issues are dealt with at an early stage.

"Anyone experiencing difficulty with their mortgage should contact their provider immediately."

UK Finance's figures show that 1,100 home-owner mortgaged properties were repossessed in the fourth quarter of 2017, down 8% compared with the same period a year earlier.

Some 600 buy-to-let mortgaged properties were also repossessed - which was unchanged compared with the fourth quarter of 2016.

There were 82,800 home-owner mortgages in arrears of 2.5% or more of the outstanding balance in the fourth quarter of 2017, 7% fewer than in the same quarter a year earlier.

The number of home-owners in the most severe arrears bracket also decreased.

There were 24,700 home-owner mortgages in arrears of 10% more or more of the outstanding balance in the fourth quarter of 2017, down 1% on the same period a year earlier.

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