40,000 homes repossessed in 2008Figure set to almost double in 2009

20 February 2009

1 in 290 mortgages ended in repossession in 2008 according to data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The organisation also predicts that total will rocket to 75,000 repossessions in 2009. Currently, just over one in fifty borrowers is in arrears of three months or more.


The CML reports that despite 2008's figures, the number of repossessions was actually 11% fewer than it had predicted.

10,400 homes were repossessed in the fourth quarter of 2008 which was down from the previous quarter when 11,100 borrowers faced the same fate.

However, year on year, repossessions were up on 2007's fourth quarter figures, when only 6,900 homes were taken back by lenders.

Positive spin 

But although the statistics make unpleasant reading, the CML's director general, Michael Coogan remained positive.

'Despite the upward pressure on mortgage arrears and repossessions arising from the problems in the economy and rising unemployment, both government and lenders are continuing to find ways to help more people stay in their homes.


Mr Coogan said there has been a sharp rise in the number of people handing back keys or even abandoning their properties but he asked them not to take these courses of action.

'We strongly urge borrowers to contact their lender and work with them before they take this step as there may be other solutions.

'Borrowers are still liable for their debt even if they leave the property, so working through their problems is much more likely to be in their best interest.'

Government help

A variety of Government schemes has been set up to help people who may face repossession, see our guide to mortgage arrears and repossessions for more information.

It might also be an option to re-mortgage or if you're on a repayment mortgage, to switch to one that's interest-only. Our mortgage finder will tell you what you could save if you switch.

There is also plenty of free help and advice on overcoming debt available from organisations such as National Debtline, Citizens Advice or the Consumer Credit Counselling Service.

Also, check out our guide to dealing with debt for more tips and advice. 

Get the latest money news

Which? news RSS Feeds

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed here. 

If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste this link into your newsreader: http://www.which.co.uk/feeds/reviews/news.xml . 

Find out more about RSS in the Which? guide to news feeds.

Or why not get weekly updates and money saving tips delivered to your in-box by subscribing to the Money Email?