Revealed: English towns with the highest risk of repossessionNew Shelter research reveals repossession hotspots

22 June 2011

New research from homelessness charity Shelter has revealed the places in England with the highest proportion of homeowners who are at serious risk of repossession.

Corby in the East Midlands is the country’s top hotspot, having the highest rate of homeowners at risk, closely followed by Barking and Dagenham and Newham in London, Knowsley in the North West and Thurrock in East of England.

The Shelter research reveals a 'red ribbon of repossession' hotspots across the North from Merseyside to the Humber, large parts of Tyneside, a cluster of Kent and Essex coastal towns and a collection of areas around the Wash in East Anglia. The research also found a strong link between unemployment and rates of possession orders, with unemployment having risen at more than double the rate in hotspots, compared with the least at-risk areas.

Shelter repossession map

'A frightening picture of repossession'

The research comes just as Which? Money reveals that variable mortgage rate customers are being squeezed by lenders, potentially signalling disaster for many when interest rates start to rise. The Council of Mortgage Lenders predicts repossessions will rise to 45,000 in 2012.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s Chief Executive said: ‘This Shelter research paints a frightening picture of repossession hotspots across the country where homeowners are on the brink of losing the roof over their head.

‘We know only too well that the combined pressures of high inflation, increased living costs and stagnant wages are really taking a toll on people. All it takes is one thing like job loss to tip people over the edge and into the spiral of debt, repossession and ultimately homelessness.

‘And with interest rates due to increase in the near future, this research is a clear warning sign of difficult times ahead for many thousands of homeowners across the country. It is absolutely vital that struggling homeowners, in particular those at risk when interest rates rise, get help before things spiral out of control and they risk losing their home.’

How Shelter conducted the repossession research

Shelter analysed the latest Ministry of Justice data on the rates of claims leading to possession orders per 1,000 households across every local authority. Shelter‘s definition of an ‘at risk homeowner’ is a homeowner who has been issued with a possession order for their home. This is an advanced stage of the repossession process and while these homes are not all certain to be repossessed there is a serious risk that they will be.

Which? repossession and debt advice

For more information if you're struggling to meet your home repayments, read the Which? guide Repossession and how to avoid it.

If you're struggling with debt, read the Which? guide How to deal with debt, including 10 reasons you should never use a commercial debt management company, together with contact details for free debt advice organisations including Citizens Advice, CCCS, National Debtline and Payplan.

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