A recent report by the Council of Mortgage lenders has revealed that the number of homes repossessed in the UK fell by 7.5% in the first three months of 2010. Home repossession is one of the ultimate fears for any homeowner, and the fact that the figure is falling is perhaps proof that the finances of the nation have recovered a little.
In terms of the actual number of repossessions that figure fell from 10,600 homes in the final three months of 2009 to 9,800 in the first three months of 2010. Most encouragingly that number was 26% lower than the same period in 2009 when an enormous 13,200 people lost their homes.
The CML said that the biggest factor in the drop of repossessions was the drop in the interest rate. In March 2009, partially in response to the rising number of people losing their homes, the Bank of England dropped its base interest rate to 0.5% and has kept it there ever since. This meant that many people who were looking at the precipice, even those who found themselves unemployed, were able to claw back some of the arrears on their mortgages.
On the back of these positive figures that CML has said that it may revise it’s original forecast of 53,000 repossessions for the year should there be no further problems with the economy.
The news did, however, come with a warning from the CML. If interest rates were to increase, it warned, many hundreds of thousands of people could find themselves struggling to meet higher repayment costs and therefore find themselves facing the prospect of repossession. It warned that it was imperative for the BoE to keep the rates low for as long as possible, even in the face of rising inflation.
Mortgage Interest rates have however fallen to record lows for those customers with a sizeable deposit and good credit history. The personal loans market is also improving steadily with Santander’s flagship product for existing customers having a typical of 8.9%, and secured loan rates also falling to levels more in line with previous years.
At the end of the day the news from the CML is positive, though there is the warning that things could deteriorate at any moment and we should not forget that even though the numbers are dropping, nearly 10,000 people lost their homes in the first three months of this year, the economic crisis, whatever the figures may say, is very much still with us.