No room for complacency despite fall in the number of home repossessions

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said that the fall in the number of people losing their homes through repossession action was a step in the right direction, but emphasised that there is no room for complacency and work must continue to support people at risk of losing their home.

He said that the Government’s ongoing efforts to tackle the record deficit it had inherited must continue in order to avoid rapid increases in interest rates, which would put further pressure on already-stretched family budgets.

Grant Shapps said:

"The fall in repossessions is welcome, but I am concerned that too many people are still worrying about losing their homes without seeking support.

"I urge anyone who thinks they may be at risk of losing their home to take action immediately. There is help available and repossession should only ever be the very last resort. No one in financial difficulty should be embarrassed to seek help if they need it and worried homeowners should speak to their mortgage lender immediately. They can also visit the Directgov website for help to prepare a personal action plan, or seek expert advice from Shelter, National Debtline or the local Citizens Advice Bureau or local authority.

"There are challenges ahead for homeowners in 2011 – so the most important thing that Government can do to keep repossessions as low as possible is to continue our efforts to tackle the record deficit. By doing this we can avoid the need for rapid increases in interest rates, and keep the pressure off homeowners facing financial hardship."

Latest figures also show that one of the schemes aimed at helping the most vulnerable homeowners, the Mortgage Rescue Scheme, has helped 4,247 households receive help and advice from their local authority in the last quarter, with 2,015 homeowners having completed the full process since the scheme’s launch in January 2009.

Separate figures from the Ministry of Justice show that claims leading to a court order have fallen over the last three months of 2010 by eight per cent compared to the same period in 2009, and claims for mortgage possession by lenders between October and December 2010 were two per cent lower than during the same period of 2009. Of the mortgage possession claims that led to orders, 48 per cent were suspended

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