The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has reported that the number of house repossessions and home loans in arrears fell between January and March of this year.

Repossessions have dropped from the preceding quarter’s 10,600 to 9,800 – a reduction of 7.5%. Figures for the same quarter of 2009 show there were 13,200 repossessions.

The proportion of mortgages that were in arrears of 2.5% of the outstanding balance was 2.38%, down from 2.52% in the preceding quarter and 2.81% for the same period last year.

This reduction in numbers is attributed to lower interest rates and a less than anticipated rise in the numbers of unemployed.

The last government brought in a series of measures to reduce repossessions, including leaning on lenders to avoid taking back homes, issuing new guidelines for courts and enabling those on Income Support to access mortgage relief quicker.

The CML is appealing to the new government to continue to support homeowners in their efforts to avoid repossession, saying:

“Many households with more entrenched problems are still struggling to restore their financial position and repay arrears. We cannot emphasise too strongly the importance of continuing to fund the support mechanisms that are proving effective.”

The borrowers who show the most improvement are those only marginally behind with repayments. Those whose arrears are greater than the value of their loan by greater than 5% remain high.

This emphasises the need to ensure that potential homeowners seek out a mortgage to suit their circumstances through a qualified mortgage broker.

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