The number of houses being repossessed has dropped by 20 per cent in the last 12 months, figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) have shown.
Despite repossessions in the first three months of the year rising in the usual seasonal pattern to 6,400 from 6,100 in the previous quarter, they were significantly down from 8,000 during the same period a year earlier.
Mortgage accounts in arrears also fell between January and March to their lowest level since 2008.The figures include both owner-occupier mortgages and buy-to-let mortgages. A total of 138,200 mortgages had arrears of more than 2.5 per cent of the balance compared with 144,600 at the end of 2013.
CML director general, Paul Smee, said that the downward trend in the number of mortgages in arrears or ending in repossession is obviously very welcome.
“Repossession is absolutely the last resort – the aim is to keep people in their home and get their finances back on track wherever possible,” he said.
“Lenders fully recognise that behind the numbers, these are real households, with differing circumstances. Lenders try to ensure that all borrowers are treated fairly and sensitively.
“They continue to improve their practices to try to achieve the best outcomes when payment problems do occur. Combined with low interest rates and an improving jobs market, these strategies are clearly helping many households.”
However, Ministry of Justice figures have revealed the number of landlord repossession claims in County Courts against tenants hit the highest quarterly figure in over a decade, increasing by 26 per cent to 170,453 in 2013 and to 47,220 in the first quarter of 2014.