The quarterly releases are released by the Ministry of Justice and produced in accordance with arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority. The bulletin presents the latest statistics on the numbers of mortgage and landlord possession actions in the county courts of England and Wales. These statistics are a leading indicator of the number of properties to be repossessed and the only source of sub-national possession information. In addition to monitoring court workloads, they are used to assist in the development, monitoring and evaluation of policy both nationally and locally.
The number of mortgage possession claims in County Courts increased from 2003 to a peak in 2008, but has fallen 70% since then to 12,882 in the second quarter of 2013. The fall in mortgage claims has been spread evenly across all regions of the country.
The fall in the number of mortgage possession claims since 2008 coincides with lower interest rates, a proactive approach from lenders in managing consumers in financial difficulties and other interventions from the government, such as the Mortgage Rescue Scheme.
At the same time the number of claims rose, the estimated proportion of claims which have progressed to an order, warrant or repossession by county court bailiffs also increased from 2003 to around 2009 or 2010, but has fallen slightly since.
The number of landlord possession claims in County Courts fell from 2003 to 2008, but has increased since then by 8% to 39,293 in the second quarter of 2013. The increase has been higher in London than in other regions of the country.
The estimated proportion of claims which have progressed to an order, warrant or repossession by county court bailiffs have been increasing slightly since 2009.
We have made some changes to this bulletin, which are outlined below. These changes were announced in the previous bulletin and feedback was sought. Feedback did not show opposition to these proposals.
Seasonally adjusted figures:
We have discontinued production of these tables, as feedback suggested limited customer use, as customers prefer the clarity of using actual figures rather than adjusted figures.
Tables 5 and 6:
We have discontinued production of Tables 5 and 6 which provided breakdowns at the national level of landlord possession claims and claims lead to orders by type of landlord and procedure. Instead information at the local level is provided in the supplementary CSV. This provides users with the local picture regarding this data and allows users to aggregate it in ways that suit their own needs. Those users who would prefer to use the tables can request them from the Ministry of Justice using the contact provided at the end of this report.
Measuring the volume of orders, warrants and repossessions:
Previously, the figures presented in this bulletin were claims that lead to orders, claims that lead to warrants, and claims that lead to repossessions. This counted the number of orders, warrants or repossessions that are unique to a claim, so that if one claim had two or more orders only the first was counted. In this bulletin, they have been replaced with the total number of orders, warrants and repossessions. We believe this will be simpler to understand and will be a more accurate reflection of the court workload. Annex C provides more details on these changes.
Mortgage and landlord possession statistical tables (CSV):
This CSV contained the same information as the main tables with some additional breakdowns between 1999 and 2007 by quarter. We discontinued production of this output. Feedback from customers suggests there is rather limited use of this output, as customers find the main tables more straightforward to understand and can find quarterly information from the other supplementary CSV, which also provide local breakdowns on a quarterly basis.
As a result of these proposed changes the possessions publication consists of a
- bulletin describing headline results,
- supported by tables providing headline results,
- supported by CSV providing court-level and local-authority breakdowns on a wider range of variables than in the main tables,
- supported by a guide which explain how to get the most out of the CSV.
Revision and pre-release policy
The statistics for the second quarter of 2013 are provisional, and are therefore liable to revision to take account of any late amendments to the administrative databases from which these statistics are sourced. The standard process for revising the published statistics to account for these late amendments is as follows. An initial revision to the statistics for the latest quarter may be made when the next edition of this bulletin is published. Final figures for this quarter, and for other quarters in the same calendar year, will be published in the bulletin presenting the statistics for the first of the following year.
The bulletin is produced and handled by the ministry’s analytical professionals and production staff. Pre-release access of up to 24 hours is granted to the following persons:
Ministry of Justice:
Secretary of State, Minister of State, Permanent Secretary, Director of Access to Justice policy and the relevant special adviser, one policy officer and three press officers.
Communities and Local Government:
Minister of State (Housing), Housing Markets and Planning Analysis Economist and Statistician and the relevant policy official and press officer.
Two relevant policy officers.