According to UK Finance, 1,330 homeowner mortgaged properties were taken into possession in the fourth quarter of 2019, a 17 per cent year-on-year increase.
However, this was from a low base as just 59 in every 100,000 homeowner mortgages were taken into possession during the year. Levels remain below those seen between 2009 and 2014.
The increase in possessions was said to be due to a backlog of historic cases which were being processed in line with updated regulatory requirements.
The number of homeowner mortgages in arrears sits at “historically low” levels, as in Q4 there were 70,880 homeowner mortgages in arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance. This accounts for 0.78 per cent of all outstanding residential mortgages as is nine per cent fewer than in the same quarter of the previous year.
For mortgages with arrears of 10 per cent or more of the outstanding balance there were 21,770 in Q4, nine per cent fewer than the same quarter last year.
Increase in buy-to-let repossessions
Some 660 buy-to-let mortgaged properties were taken into possession in the fourth quarter of 2019, 20 per cent more than in the same quarter of the previous year. However, this was also from a low base, with 137 in every 100,000 buy-to-let mortgages being taken into possession in 2019.
This was also driven by a backlog due to updated regulation.
There were 4,390 buy-to-let mortgages (0.22 per cent of all buy-to-let mortgages outstanding) in arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance in the fourth quarter of 2019, seven per cent fewer than in the same quarter of the previous year. This accounted for 0.22 per cent of all outstanding buy-to-let mortgages.
Of this total, 1,160 buy-to-let mortgages were in arrears of 10 per cent or more of the outstanding balance. This was three per cent fewer than in the same quarter of the previous year.
Ministry of Justice shows rise in repossessions
Mortgage possession claims increased by 11 per cent year-on-year to 6,258 in the three months to December, data from MoJ showed.
Mortgage orders and repossessions by county court bailiffs also rose by 24 per cent and nine per cent to 4,459 and 1,149 respectively, compared to the same quarter last year.
Again, MoJ cited that the increase was driven by one large mortgage provider that was processing claims that had previously been held back since 2015, but said this had since returned to normal.
In December, it was revealed that Lloyds Banking Group was the lender being referred to.
From October to December 2019, warrants issued decreased by 17 per cent to 3,792 compared to the same quarter in 2018.
Landlord possession claims, orders, warrants and repossessions by county court bailiffs have decreased by 12 per cent, 12 per cent, 20 per cent and nine per cent which the MoJ said represented a continued long-term fall since April to June 2014.
In the last quarter of the year, there were 25,438 claims, 20,549 orders, 12,787 warrants and 7,528 landlord repossessions.