Mortgage repossessions on downward spiral

Wednesday 17 February 2016

The Ministry of Justice has released their quarterly figures showing Mortgage and Landlord Possession Statistics for England for the forth quarter of 2015.

To save you reading the full report we've summarised the key findings relating to mortgage repossessions below, but you'll also find a link to the full report at the bottom of the page which includes data and findings on landlord possession actions too. 

Summary of findings
In October to December 2015, 4,349 mortgage possession claims were recorded in county courts, down 45% compared to the number issued in the same quarter last year, and the lowest since the time series began 1987.

There were 2,932 orders for possession, 4,974 warrants of possession and 1,150 repossessions by county court bailiffs in October to December 2015; down 48%, 40% and 53% respectively compared to the same quarter last year. All of these were the lowest numbers recorded since 1987. 

The highest number of repossessions by country court baliffs in the period were Maldon and Burnley. 

Seasonally adjusted data shows an 8% decrease in claims, a 13% decrease in orders, a 20% decrease in warrants and a 16% decrease in repossessions by county court bailiffs compared to last quarter which suggests the recent decline seen in these figures is set to continue.

The annual total of claims issued in 2015 was 19,853, reflecting a 52% decline in number of claims since 2014. These are all the lowest annual figures in the series, which covers the period from 1987. The number of orders, warrants and repossessions in 2015 has also declined since 2014 by 53%, 45% and 53% respectively.

Other factors at play
The fall in the number of mortgage possession actions since 2008 coincides with lower interest rates, a proactive approach from lenders in managing consumers in financial difficulties and other interventions from the government, such as the Mortgage Rescue Scheme. Other factors that may have contributed to the rapid fall in the number of mortgage possession claims and orders since 2008 include the introduction of the Mortgage Pre-Action Protocol (see Annex B on policy changes in the full report for more information). Additionally, the downward trend in recent years coincides with a decrease in the proportion of owner-occupiers, from 71% in 2000 to 63% in 2013/14.