Repossessions figure down, for now

The number of people having their home repossessed has fallen to a three-year low - but experts warn the figure could soon rise again.

About 36,000 properties were taken back by mortgage lenders in 2010 - the lowest level since 2007 and 24% fewer than in 2009, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said.

Some 7,900 people had their home repossessed in the final quarter of 2010, down 11% from 8,900 in the third quarter.

The steady decline in repossessions has been attributed to a combination of low interest rates, more stringent lending criteria and a raft of Government schemes to help struggling borrowers.

However, the CML expects repossessions to increase in 2011 as the Government's deficit-busting spending cuts gather pace and interest rates start to increase. It has predicted 40,000 repossessions in 2011.

CML director general Michael Coogan said: "Lenders are continuing to work hard to help their borrowers who face temporary financial difficulties.

"As we go through 2011, the number of people facing payment pressures may increase if interest rates rise, and as a result of the spending cuts that have resulted in reductions in the level of public support available."

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