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The proportion of UK mortgages in arrears or ending in repossession fell in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. A decline was experienced in all arrears bands, and across both owner occupier and buy to let lending. The total proportion of all mortgages with arrears equivalent to more than 2.5% of the mortgage balance was 1.03% at the end of the first quarter, 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 severe arrears band at 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. ‘Although complacency would be misplaced, the underlying picture continues to be one of improvement and a continuing reduction in mortgage arrears and repossessions,’ said CML director general Paul Smee. ‘The message remains the same: don't delay in contacting your lender if you are experiencing temporary payment problems, as lenders want to help you resolve them, and will only take possession of property as a last resort,’ he added. Meanwhile, the latest figures from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) show that the number of second charge mortgage repossessions fell 45.3% in the first three months of 2015, compared with the same period last year. ‘Second charge repossessions are continuing to fall as second charge lenders continue to do all they can to help customers in financial difficulty,’ said Fiona Hoyle, head of consumer credit at the FLA. Continue reading →
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