UK repossessions fall as northern finances improve
Repossessions across the UK fell by 14% last year with the North closing its gap on the South in the number of homes claimed back by lenders.
In the first half of 2014, 23,285 households were repossessed in the UK compared to 27,105 in H1 2013, according to research from chartered surveyors e.surv.
The North/South statistics year-on-year revealed the gap closed by 16% between the two halves of the country.
Out of every 1,000 households in the North there were 2.5 repossessions recorded in H1 2014, compared to 1.7 repossessions in the South. In the first half of 2013, homes reclaimed by lenders in the North represented 2.9 households out of every 1,000 while Southern repossessions were 2 households per 1,000.
Reasons for the better conditions include a national job boom and the gradual recovery in wages which have lagged behind inflation for many years.
But despite improvement in the North, over three-quarters of Northern towns still have a repossession rate at about the national average.
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv, said: “Even though homeowners in the North have made wide strides towards financial fortitude over the last year, there still remain many pockets where homeowners are struggling to get back on their feet after being knocked backwards by the financial crisis.
“The North West was hit hard by recession-driven public-sector job cuts in particular, and many towns have been slower to wake from the slumber of the crisis as a result.”
Oldham topped e.surv’s repossessions table with 3.66 households out of every 1,000, followed by Bradford with 3.55 repossessions and Liverpool with 3.34.
London tied with Wales as the least-improved areas for the rate of repossessions comparing H1 2014 to H1 2013. Rates fell by 12% in the capital and Wales compared to the 14% average across the rest of England and Wales.
Sexton said as the year rolled on he expected to see the Mortgage Market Review improve the rates of repossession even further, making sure that borrowers only take on mortgages which they can afford.
He added: “It’s heartening to see repossession rates falling in those areas which have previously been most deeply affected.”