Repossessions plummet to lowest level in over a decade

29 January 2004
The number of repossessions of properties made by mortgage lenders in 2003 was at its lowest level since 1982, according to a new report.

Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show that the number of people in arrears on mortgage payments was also the lowest seen since the early 80s.

One in 1,500 mortgaged homes was repossessed in 2003, a total of 7,630 properties.

However, the CML predicts that this figure will rise in light of expected interest rate rises in 2004.

The organisation is predicting the number of repossessions to reach 8,500 in 2004, in line with 2002 levels, and 11,000 in 2005.

The CML director general, Michael Coogan, warned borrowers and lenders to take a responsible approach to borrowing, cautioning: "With such low levels of default, both lenders and borrowers need to make a conscious effort to think about risk. The current economy may not last forever.

"Although most people should be able to weather the anticipated rise in interest rates without too much difficulty, there will be a small number who will struggle, especially those with large unsecured debts and little equity in their property.

"Now is definitely the time for people to be preparing themselves to absorb higher mortgage costs later this year," he added.