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House Repossessions Up by Nearly a Fifth

Homeowners struggling with higher mortgage payments


A total of 27,530 mortgage repossession orders were made during the first quarter of this year, up nearly a fifth from the same period a year ago.

Government data shows this is a 9% rise compared to the last three months of 2007, and the number of repossession claims was also 16% up at 38,688 - 7% higher than the previous quarter.

The new figures hint that homeowners are struggling to cope with the impact of the credit crisis, and they are struggling to keep up with higher remortgage payments.

The hardship of some homeowners has been made more acute as lenders continue to increase mortgage rates in wake of the slowing economy.

Some borrowers who are coming to the end of short-term fixed-rate mortgages may have difficulty remortgaging at a lower rate as banks err on the side of caution and refuse to take risks, meaning homeowners may have to instead opt for more expensive variable rates.

A mortgage repossession order entitles the claimant - usually a lender - to apply to have the occupier evicted, and is granted by a court. A claim is issued in a county court and begins an action for a repossession order.

The numbers of both actions are at their highest levels for at least six years, and the frequency has climbed sharply in the last six months.

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