North-South repossession divide narrows
There were 2.5 repossessions per 1,000 households in the North and 1.7 in the South in the first half of 2014, while this compares to 2.9 in the North and 2.0 in the South in the first half of 2013.
Overall the number of repossessions fell by 14% year-on-year to stand at 23,285 in the first half of 2014.
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: “The repossession rift between North and South is beginning to knit itself back together, helped by a jobs boom across the country.
“This really boils down to people having more money in their pockets than a year ago.
“Moving forwards, the Mortgage Market Review will ensure that future borrowers are able to keep up with repayments, despite fluctuations in interest rates.
“It’s heartening to see repossession rates falling in those areas which have previously been most deeply affected.”
The North West is the worst region for repossessions, as Oldham has the highest rate in England and Wales (3.66 per 1,000 households).
Behind Oldham is Bradford (3.55), Liverpool (3.34), Wigan (3.29) and Luton (3.26).
Repossession rates are higher than the average in England and Wales in 86% of North Western towns, while the same is true for 80% of Welsh towns.
Sexton added: “The North West remains the repossessions capital of England and Wales, with nine out of ten towns home to more repossessions than average.
“Even though home-owners in the North have made wide strides towards financial fortitude over the last year, there still remain many pockets where homeowners are struggling to get back on their feet after being knocked backwards by the financial crisis.
“The North West was hit hard by recession-driven public-sector job cuts in particular, and many towns have been slower to wake from the slumber of the crisis as a result.”
London is a land of extremes, as West-Central London (0.4) and West London (0.9) have the lowest repossession rates in the whole of England and Wales, while Romford is the worst postcode in terms of repossessions (3.12) in the capital.