UK Finance: Home repossessions drop to near forty year low

Posted on Sunday, February 17, 2019

UK Finance reports that homeowner repossessions are at the lowest level recorded in nearly 40 years.

Data provided by the firm shows that, in 2018, there were 4,580 homeowner possessions, which is the lowest since 1980, when there were 3,480.

During 2018, there were 2,240 buy-to-let possessions.

On a quarterly basis, there were 1,130 homeowner possessions in the final three months of last year compared to 1,160 in Q4 2017, and 540 BTL possessions in Q4 2018 versus 630 in Q4 2017.

Further data shows that homeowner mortgages in arrears dropped on a quarterly basis too, with 77,610 borrowers in arrears of 2.5 per cent or more in Q4 2018 compared to the 81,290 seen a year previous.

In terms of buy-to-let, there were 4,690 in arrears of 2.5 per cent or more, barely changed from Q4 2017’s 4,670.

Private Finance director Shaun Church says: “We may live in turbulent times, but homeownership is remarkably secure… the incredibly low level of arrears and possessions makes the case for wider availability of high LTV products.

“Affordability tests are clearly working, and with a secure system in place, there is no reason why loans of 95 per cent or above should present any danger.

Anderson Harris director Jonathan Harris comments: “Encouragingly, the number of homes being repossessed by lenders is at its lowest level in almost 30 years.

“However, there is no room for complacency. Possessions may be declining but that can change, and borrowers need to be prepared. We suspect that when it comes to their finances there are many people who don’t have a buffer to tide them over should they get into difficulty.”

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