Arrears and repossessions fall across both home ownership and buy-to-let

Mortgage arrears and repossessions are falling across both owner-occupier and buy-to-let lending.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders says that at the end of the first quarter of this year, the total proportion of mortgages with arrears equivalent to more than 2.5% of the mortgage balance was 1.03%.

This was down from 1.05% in the fourth quarter of 2014 and well down on the 1.24% recorded at the same time last year.

In numerical terms, there were 113,900 loans in arrears. Of these, just 24,400 were in the ‘most serious’ arrears band (more than 10% of balance), equating to 0.22% of all mortgages.

This is the smallest number and proportion of mortgages in the ‘most serious’ arrears band since the end of 2008.

The proportion of mortgages resulting in repossession in the first quarter was 0.03%, down from 0.04% in the fourth quarter of 2014 and 0.06% in the first quarter of last year.

The number of repossessions was 3,100, down from 4,200 in the fourth quarter of last year and 6,400 in the first quarter of 2014.

CML director general Paul Smee said: “Although complacency would be misplaced, the underlying picture continues to be one of improvement and a continuing reduction in mortgage arrears and repossessions.”

Separate figures from the Ministry of Justice show that in the first quarter of this year, there were 5,643 mortgage possession claims in the county courts between January and March.

The figure differs from the CML data as not all claims result in actual possession.

The Ministry of Justice figure shows a remarkable drop of 56% on the number of claims issued during the first quarter of last year.

It is also the lowest number of quarterly claims since 2004.

According to the Ministry of Justice while there was a drop in landlord possession claims in the county courts, the number of actual evictions went up.

The figure for claims was 42,226, down 11% on the first quarter of 2014. The majority of possession claims, 27,204 or 64%, were by social landlords. The number of tenant households that were evicted was 11,307 , up 8% annually.

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