Home repossessions stop rising
The first quarter of 2012 saw 9,600 homes repossessed, the same as in the first quarter of 2011, breaking a run of year-on-year increases.
According to the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), repossessions were 10 per cent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2011, when 8,700 homes were repossessed.
However this is in line with the usual seasonal fall at the end of the year.
The CML may revise down its estimate of 45,000 repossessions during 2012 in its summer housing market forecast.
The organisation warned that this will depend on the effect of ongoing pressure on household incomes, benefit cuts and changes to mortgage rates, which could all upset the currently stable picture.
Many lenders increased their Standard Variable Rate this month, leaving one million homebuyers to face facing higher mortgage repayments.
The CML also revealed a substantial increase in buy to let (BTL) lending to £3.7 billion in the 2012 first quarter, a third higher than a year ago.
The report offered good news on arrears, with the number of mortgages with arrears of 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding balance falling to 157,800.
At the end of December, there were 160,300 mortgages with arrears of 2.5 per cent or more, and 170,500 in the 2011 first quarter.
There was also good news on property prices today, with a study by property website Zoopla revealing that house sellers are less likely to have reduced their asking prices than they were three months ago.
There was concern that stamp duty changes could force sellers to reduce their prices, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.
The asking price on approximately 34 per cent of properties has been cut since they were put on the market, compared with 37 per cent when a previous study was carried out in February.
Sellers are also making more modest reductions, with the average reduction falling 7.5 per cent to £19,012.