A total of 9,600 properties were repossessed in the UK in the first quarter of 2012, according to new figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
This is roughly the same as this time last year, but a slight rise on the previous quarter and breaks a recent trend of year-on-year increases.
The latest figure is a 10 per cent increase on the fourth quarter of 2011, but the CML said this represents a “normal seasonal pattern”.
The CML has described the situation as stable and said that its previous prediction that repossessions would rise to 45,000 this year could be revised down later this summer when it publishes its housing market forecasts.
“Continuing pressures on household finances, changes to welfare benefits and an upward drift in mortgage rates all have the potential to disrupt the current stable picture,” it cautioned.
The report also highlighted a modest improvement in arrears. The number of mortgages with arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance fell to 157,800, down from 160,300 at the end of December and 170,500 a year ago.
Mark Harris, chief executive of broker SPF Private Clients, said that while it is encouraging news, it is important that complacency does not creep in.
“Lenders must continue to show forbearance and look after customers who are struggling by letting them switch to interest-only, take payment holidays or extend their mortgage terms,” he said.
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