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Lenders cut 2009 repossessions forecast

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by Gill Montia

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has cut its forecast for the number of repossessions in 2009 to 48,000.

The estimate is substantially down on earlier forecasts of 75,000 in 2008 and 65,000 in June of this year, and the body says the improvement reflects “lender forbearance, government measures and the beneficial effect of continuing low interest rates”.

In further good news, CML figures show that at the end of September, 194,600 home loans (1.77% of all UK residential mortgages) were in arrears of 2.5% or more of the outstanding balance.

The result compares with 204,200 mortgages in arrears on the same basis at the end of June, or 1.86% of all mortgages.

In the three months to the end of September, 11,700 properties were repossessed by lenders, up slightly from 11,400 in the previous quarter, and showing a rise of 5% on the third quarter of 2008.

Looking ahead, the CML is predicting that the number of housing transactions will reach 810,000 this year and 850,000 in 2010.

The Council expects total net lending to be “modestly positive this year at £8 billion (revised from minus £5 billion previously), and £15 billion next year.

However, repossessions could rise in 2010, to 53,000 or 0.48% of outstanding mortgages.

Commenting on the latest arrears data and on the new forecasts, CML director general Michael Coogan said: “Borrowers should take heart from the latest findings, as they reinforce the fact that lenders really do want to keep people in their homes – and are doing so.”

He adds: “In terms of new lending next year, we expect a modest increase. But it is difficult to see the case for a dramatic upturn in the absence of significant improvement in the wider economic picture.”

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News posted: November 12, 2009

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