UK Finance and MoJ statistics point to rise in mortgage possession activity – comment

The latest UK Finance and MoJ statistics have both pointed to a rise in mortgage possession activity. Mark Pilling, Spicerhaart Corporate Sales managing director, says “The latest UK Finance figures show that the long-term trend for increased mortgage possession activity is continuing. Although this is from a low base, it is still a sign that the uncertainty and low economic growth of recent years is catching up with household finances.

“According to Ministry of Justice figures, also released this morning, in the last three months of 2019 there were an average of 68 claims for possession every day, with the total of 6,258 representing an 11 per cent increase on the same period in 2018. Possession orders have increased by nearly a quarter (24 per cent) and repossessions by 9 per cent.

“The data also points to an ongoing regional divide, with the three highest rates of repossessions all in the North-East of England. Interestingly, this is where many of the Conservatives’ recent electoral gains came from so it is clear they will be under pressure to deliver on their talk of ‘levelling up’ regional economies.

“At the same time, regulatory changes are coming into force which, although well-intentioned, may have the short-term impact of making life more difficult for many people already struggling to make ends meet. People being required to step up repayments on credit cards and potentially pay more for authorised overdrafts will put even greater pressure on household finances.

“Repossession should always be the last resort and lenders should always look to find another option if it is available. The lenders we work with all have a clear strategy in place to identify borrowers who are at risk of falling behind with payments and engage with them deliver the best possible customer outcome.”