Sharp rise in repossession activity: MoJ


Mortgage repossession claims increased by 40 per cent over the past year, as higher interest rates and rising living costs impact borrowers’ ability to service their home loans.

This Ministry of Justice data is further evidence of a tough mortgage market, with UK Finance figures published this morning showing rising arrears.

MoJ figures show that there were 4,035 mortgage possession claims lodged in the first quarter of 2023 – a 40% increase on the same quarter in 2022. Meanwhile, mortgage possession orders rose by 11% to 2,540, while warrants went up by 20% to 2,624. The number of repossession by county court bailiffs increased by 24%, though remained at a historically low figure of 718.

There is a similar trend seen in the rental market, with an increase in the number of legal claims lodged by landlords to possess a property. While the number of claims increased by 23% over this period, the MoJ statistics shows the number of repossession was up by 69%.

The MoJ said the number of mortgage repossession claims have been recorded across all regions, while private and social landlord claims remain concentrated in London.

In the mortgage market the median average time from a claim to a mortgage repossession has decreased to 60.2 weeks, from 110.2 weeks in 2022.

A statement from the MoJ said that repossession claims have risen steadily since pandemic restrictions on this legal action. However it added that the number of claims, orders, warrants and repossession remain below pre-Covid levels.

It said that despite the increase in volumes the civil court is managing demand. It says this is evident int he decrease in tidelands across all mortgage and landlords stages to pre-covid levels.  Historically it says repossessions by county court bailiffs fell from a high of 9,284 in Q1 of 2009 to 934 in Q3 of 2018 — at the time the lowest recorded level of the series.

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