News story

Homeowners at risk must seek early help

Eric Pickles has issued a reminder to struggling homeowners to seek help early to have a better chance of staying in their homes.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Terraced houses

His call came on the day new research from the Centre of Housing Policy at the University of York shows that the number of home owners who have given up their home due to financial difficulties has been much higher than solely shown by repossession statistics.

The research shows that while thousands have lost their home through voluntary or compulsory repossession, many more people have been forced into selling their home, before any court action is taken against them because of financial difficulties.

Council of Mortgage Lenders repossession figures

The findings come as new figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders released today show that repossessions in the second quarter of 2010 were down by 400 compared to the previous quarter, and 20% less than the same time in 2009.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders have also today confirmed that they are revising down their original forecast for the number of households being repossessed in 2010 from 53,000 to 40,000.

Mr Pickles said that whilst the fall in the number of people losing their homes through official repossession action was welcome, the research demonstrated that many more homeowners had fallen victim to losing their home than is shown up in repossession statistics. He said that the findings strongly underlined the need for early action from homeowners to get help, take control of their finances and give themselves the best chance of avoiding losing their homes.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

“Today’s figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders are good news and an encouraging sign that fewer homeowners are facing the real and frightening prospect of repossession. But there is no room for complacency - struggling homeowners must take early advice to have the best chance of staying in their homes.

“I am determined that those who need help are able to get it - and that includes the need to tackle the record budget deficit to avoid the need for rapid increases in interest rates.

“Today’s research lays bare the many hidden victims of the recent recession, homeowners who have given up and left home ownership, when getting practical advice before matters got too overwhelming might have kept them in their homes. That’s why we are working with organisations like Shelter and Citizens Advice so people know where they can go to get a grip on their finances and can make informed decisions about their future.”

Published 12 August 2010