CML confident repossessions will not exceed 45,000 in 2008

The Council of Mortgage Lenders is due to publish its repossession figures for 2008 on February 20 and says it does not expect these to exceed its original forecast of 45,000.

It figures will appear on the same day that the Ministry of Justice publishes information about the number of actions for possession by both lenders and landlords in county courts in England and Wales last year.

The CML says although it has not yet finalised the data it believes that the number of properties taken into possession last year will not exceed 45,000, the forecast it originally made in October 2007.

It has also confirmed that it is forecasting the number of possessions to rise to 75,000 this year.

Data it has already published for the first nine months of 2008 shows possessions totaling 30,200.

It says publishing its data on the same day as the MoJ figures is designed to help improve understanding of what the two sources of information actually show. It will also illustrate just how wide the differences between the two sets of numbers can be.

Even allowing for differences in coverage, the two sets of figures are likely to illustrate once again how the number of claims issued in the courts, and the number of court orders made, dwarfs the number of mortgaged properties that are actually taken into possession.

In the third quarter of last year, for example, the MoJ data showed that 38,500 claims were issued and 29,500 orders were made (both numbers seasonally adjusted) while, in the same period, CML figures showed that the number of homes actually taken into possession was considerably lower, at 11,300.

The CML figures do not capture possessions in the second charge market, which could add between 10% and 20% to the overall total.

The CML says the large difference between the numbers of court actions and actual possessions illustrates the fact that lenders continue to explore workable options for addressing a borrower’s payment problems, even after obtaining a court order, right up to the point of possession.