CML admits it doesn’t have niche data

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has admitted it does not have data on niche markets including self-cert and sub-prime, following its prediction that repossessions will rise 46% in 2006.

Last week executive committee papers written by Sue Anderson, head of external relations at the CML, and Jim Cunningham, senior economist at the CML, were leaked by an unknown source. Both are on the CML’s executive committee.

Christopher Dean, press officer at the CML, says it is asking members for data on niche markets.

He adds: “We are in discussions about how feasible it is for lenders to provide this data. A lot of work goes into collating it and this is extra work for lenders that already have to provide the Financial Services Authority with information.”

Another leaked document discloses that the CML believes the expected rise in repossessions is due to specialist lenders getting tough on arrears.

Dean adds: “Some lenders are taking firmer action when it come to repossessing properties but repossession is the last resort. It is in lenders’ interests to come to a suitable repayment structure for consumers.”

The CML predicts there will be 15,000 repossessions this year compared with 10,250 in 2005. Last week it released figures that show the number of properties taken into possession in the first half of this year was 8,140 – 76% higher than the same period last year.

It says its 46% rise prediction is unchanged because interest rates rose in 2003 and 2004 so people have fallen into arrears and properties have been repossessed.

Bob Sturges, director of communications at Money Partners, says: “The CML’s forecast is within reason, but I don’t think there will be a quantum leap in repossessions. It’s important to keep it in context even if it proves to be accurate, as repossessions are still at relatively low levels.”