Repossessions data clarified

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has highlighted the fact that actual mortgage repossession figures are not as high as they might seem following the release of possession proceedings statistics by the Department of Constitutional Affairs last week.

Sue Anderson, head of external affairs at the CML, says: “DCA figures essentially show the number of cases lenders take to the courts and the numbers of possession actions granted by the courts. But these figures are much higher than the real number of repossessions.”

Figures released by the DCA show there were 54,344 actions entered in the first half of this year, and 32,366 orders made in the same time frame. But, as pointed out by the CML, there were only 4,640 actual repossessions. CML data shows repossessions took place in only one in 2,500 mortgage cases.

Anderson believes there are a number of reasons why the DCA figures are so different from the CML data.

She says: “Lenders will sometimes use court action as a way of creating the disciplined payment structure necessary to get a household in arrears back on track.

“They will also happily abandon possession proceedings right up to the last minute if satisfactory payment arrangements can be agreed.”