Mortgage arrears numbers drop to lowest in 20 years

Low interest rates are helping householders at present
Low interest rates are helping householders at present

Cases of mortgage arrears have fallen to their lowest levels in at least 23 years, banks and building societies have reported.

The number of mortgages in arrears amounting to 2.5% or more of the outstanding balance declined to 88,200 in the second quarter of 2017, trade body UK Finance reported.

This was the lowest level since at least 1994, when records started.

The total was 5% lower than in the first quarter and amounted to 0.8% of the more than 11 million mortgages outstanding in the UK.

But UK Finance cautioned that while home owners are being helped by current low interest rates, costs are “certain to rise at some stage” - and households should plan ahead.

The number of homes being repossessed across the UK also fell in the second quarter to 1,800 - the joint lowest figure since the quarterly data started in 2008.

The same number was also recorded in the final quarter of 2016.

The second quarter saw falls across all arrears bands, including those with the highest levels of arrears, UK Finance said.

Continuing a trend, the rate of buy-to-let arrears was lower than arrears in the owner-occupied sector - although the buy-to-let repossession rate was higher.