Number of homes lost to financial pressures on the decline

The number of homes which owners were forced to give up due to financial pressures fell by 54 per cent between 2010 and 2012 compared with the period running from 2005 to 2009.

An analysis of the latest ONS English Housing Survey by Castle Trust found fewer than 12,000 homes a year were given up as a result of financial pressure between 2010 and 2012.

Comparatively, between 2005 and 2009, there were 26,000 homes a year surrendered.

Castle Trust chief executive Sean Oldfield says: “The number of homes being given up has fallen but the risk to homeowners of rising mortgage rates is still a major issue which shared equity can play a major role in reducing, including the risk of going into arrears, by controlling monthly mortgage commitments.”

The analysis found 55 per cent of those affected between 2010 and 2012 sold their homes to avoid either mortgage arrears or court actions instigated by the lender. The remaining 45 per cent were either taken over by the lender, or the lender left voluntarily or by court order.

Recent figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders found repossessions were at their lowest level in five years in the fourth quarter of 2012. The number of properties taken into possession by first-charge residential lenders fell from 8,200 in the third quarter of 2012 to 7,700 in the fourth, marking the lowest quarterly figure since the fourth quarter of 2007 when it was 6,900.