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Mortgage possession actions rise, but still down on pre-Covid levels

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

The cost of living crisis could have an impact on the number of mortgage possessions

Mortgage possession actions have decreased significantly compared to pre-Covid levels, according to new figures out from the Ministry of Justice.

It said that, compared to 2019, mortgage possession claims, orders, warrants and repossessions by county court bailiffs have decreased by 53%, 47%, 55% and 57% respectively.

Despite the drop, when compared to the same quarter in 2021, all mortgage actions increased by over 100%. Mortgage possession claims increased from 735 to 2,890, orders from 145 to 2,293, warrants from 43 to 2,162 and repossessions by county court bailiffs increased from 3 to 571.

This is because of the ban on mortgage possession actions in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, which has skewed the figures enormously. As the court system recovers following the ban and works through the backlog, it was expected that there would be a sharp rise in actions.

What happens next is key, especially in the context of rising mortgage rates and the cost of living crisis.

Scott Taylor-Barr of Shropshire-based broker, Carl Summers Financial Services, said: “With rising interest rates and inflation doing damage to people’s incomes, we are bound to see an uptick in repossessions somewhere along the line. My advice to anyone that finds themselves struggling is always the same, namely speak to your lender. The earlier you can get the lender’s assistance, the easier and less stressful the whole experience will be.

“Lenders have entire teams set up to help support you with payments, as long as you are prepared to work with them and prioritise your mortgage payments. Expect to be asked to cancel non-essentials like Sky TV and Amazon, as well as getting in touch with other lenders you may have, such as car finance, personal loans and credit card providers to see what they can do to reduce your repayments whilst you get yourself back on an even keel. Please remember that no wants to come and repossess your house, that is the very last thing a lender wants to do, they would rather work with you to find a way to help you pay them back, so take them up on that offer of help.”