The Council of Mortgage Lenders’ latest figures show repossessions fell by 5% and there were 2,100 less properties in arrears.
Some 8,900 properties, representing 0.08% of mortgages, were taken into possession in Q3 of 2010. The total was 5% lower than the 9,400 cases of possession in the preceding three months, and the fourth consecutive quarterly decline. The number of properties taken into possession was 27% lower than the 12,200 in the same period a year ago.
In the first nine months of the year, there have been 28,400 cases of possession, trending below the CML’s revised forecast of 39,000 for the year as a whole – and significantly lower than the original forecast of 53,000 properties.
The CML says the improvement in repossession figures was a sign of lenders’ efforts to help provide borrowers with a better safety net of support than they did in the 1990s.
There was also a modest improvement in the number of mortgages in arrears. CML data showed that 176,100 mortgages, representing 1.55% of the total, had arrears of 2.5% or more of the outstanding balance at the end of September, down from 178,200 at the end of June, and from 203,800 a year earlier. This is consistent with the CML’s prediction of 175,000 mortgages in arrears at the end of the year, and lower than our original forecast of 205,000 cases.
Michael Coogan, director-general of CML, says: “Despite the severity of the economic slowdown, and the likelihood of only a slow and protracted recovery, a combination of low interest rates and the commitment of borrowers, lenders, the government and debt advisers has helped to keep mortgage payments problems in check so far.
“But we cannot take falling arrears and possessions for granted, and the recent welcome trend may reverse.”