Home repossessions in the UK last year fell to their lowest level since 2007, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reported today.
Over the course of the year a total of 33,900 homes were seized by residential mortgage lenders, a decrease from 37,300 in 2011. As a result, the rate of repossession fell to 0.30% in 2012 from 0.33% a year earlier.
Additionally, the stock of properties in possession held by lenders at the end of 2012 was the lowest recorded for over five years.
The CML stressed that lenders try to keep borrowers in their homes and only take possession as a last resort.
In the final quarter of the year the number of properties repossessed by lenders amounted to 7,700, the lowest quarterly figure since the same period in 2007 and a decrease from 8,200 in the third quarter, maintaining a repossession rate of 0.07%.
There are indications that the number of repossessions will remain low, as the number of households in mortgage arrears at the end of the year also fell.
In fact, the number of households in the lower arrears bands has fallen fairly consistently since 2007, but the CML noted that there has been an increase in the number of cases where borrowers are in arrears of more than 10% of the mortgage balance.
The organisation emphasised the fact that higher arrears pose the greatest challenges for all parties involved in terms of households getting back on track. Anyone worried about their financial situation should talk to their lender as soon as possible, CML director general Paul Smee recommended.
The CML represents banks, building societies and other lenders who together account for around 95% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK.