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Mortgage arrears rate continues at 20-year low: CML

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The Mortgage arrears rate continued at a 20-year low in the third quarter, maintaining the same level as Q2.

However, there was a slight rise in the number of mortgages in arrears.

According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, 0.84 per cent of all mortgages recorded arrears equivalent to more than 2.5 per cent of the mortgage balance.

The overall repossession rate was also consistent with the second in Q3, at 0.02 per cent, representing 1,900 mortgages (of which 1,300 were owner-occupier, 600 buy-to-let).

The number of mortgages in arrears rose to 93,300 in the third quarter, up from 92,500 in the previous quarter, in line with a rise in the estimated total number of outstanding mortgages (up from 11,058,000 to 11,108,000).

The rise driven mostly by an increase in the number of outstanding buy-to-let mortgages, said the CML, but also a modest rise in home-owner mortgages.

CML director general Paul Smee says: “The latest arrears and repossession data still paints a reassuring picture of a market in which financial difficulties are relatively rare, and repossession rarer still.

“However, there is no denying that economic uncertainty for households is increasing. We would strongly urge all mortgage holders to consider whether there are ways that they can plan ahead for possible changes in the future – whether this relates to employment prospects, mortgage payments, or other spending.”

“Mortgage lenders are fully committed to ensuring that any home-owner who faces temporary financial difficulty gets help, as far as reasonably possible, to resolve it and to remain in their home. This will continue, whatever the economic climate. But the rise in the more serious arrears category perhaps suggests that we should not be entirely surprised if the number of mortgage repossessions rises a little in future reporting periods. “

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