Home repossessions by banks dropped by almost 25% last year the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has revealed.
During 2016 some 7,700 homes home were taken back by banks, down from 10,200 in 2015, the lowest number since 1982.
The CML also says that mortgage arrears were down last year by 7% and that it is part of a long-term trend (see graph).
Repossessions peaked in early 2009 following the financial crisis at approximately 50,000 a year then began a prolonged year-on-year decline as the economy recovered, with some of the largest reductions over the past two years.
“It is encouraging to see another improvement in arrears and possessions during a year in which borrowers were clearly helped by the downward trend in mortgage rates,” says Paul Smee (pictured, left), director general of the CML.
“But customers do need to be ready for a time when the outlook may not be so benign, with pressure on real incomes increasing and as interest rates begin to move upwards again.
“Lenders remain committed to helping borrowers work through any period of temporary payment difficulty and remain in their home wherever possible.”
The number of buy-to-let mortgage arrears during 2016 also fell, by 11% compared to the year before, while the number of buy-to-let properties repossessed by lenders remained the same, at 600.