Nation’s repossession hotspots revealed

Nia Williams

June 21, 2011

With experts predicting repossessions will rise to 45,000 next year, the housing and homelessness charity is highlighting the research to encourage homeowners who will be hit when interest rates rise to start preparing now for higher mortgage costs so they don’t find themselves at risk later down the line.

Shelter conducted the research by analysing the latest Ministry of Justice data on the rates of claims leading to possession orders per 1,000 households across every local authority. Sixty five local authorities have been identified as repossession hotspots because they are in the top fifth nationally.

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

The results also reveal worrying groups of local authorities in parts of the county, including 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 to the least at risk areas.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter said: “This research paints a frightening picture of repossession hotspots across the country where homeowners are literally 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.

Mr Robb continued: “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.”

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