Mortgage possession actions slowly recovering

The data from Q1 2022 found that as a result of the pandemic and associated actions, all mortgage possession actions have dropped significantly compared to Q1 2019.

During the first quarter of 2022, data showed that t. were 2,890 claims for possession, down 53% from the same quarter in 2019, while orders in Q1 2022 are down 47% to 2293 and warrants decreased by 55% to 2,162.

However, compared to the same quarter in 2021, all mortgage actions increased by over 100%.

The report found that compared to Q1 2021, mortgage possession claims increased from 735 to 2,890, orders from 145 to 2,293, warrants from 43 to 2,162 and repossessions by county court bailiffs increased from three to 571.

Following the complete cessation of repossession proceedings from March to September 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidance advised mortgage lenders not to commence or continue possession proceedings until April 2021.

From April 2020 to March 2021, t. were only 10 repossessions, and only 571 from January to March 2022, down 57% compared to Q1 2019.

Prior to the impact of the pandemic, the report explains that the historical fall in the number of mortgage possession actions since 2008 has generally coincided with lower interest rates, a proactive approach from lenders in managing consumers in financial difficulties and other interventions, such as the Mortgage Rescue Scheme and the introduction of the Mortgage Pre-Action Protocol.

In addition, the downward trend seen in recent years mirrors that seen in the proportion of owner-occupiers.

Elsew., data found that all landlord possession actions have dropped significantly and have not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

Compared to the same quarter in 2019, landlord possession actions; claims (19,033), orders for possession (12,975), warrants (6,817) and repossessions (3,763) have decreased by 37%, 45%, 57% and 55% respectively.

However, when compared to the same quarter in 2021, over 100% increases were recorded across all actions.

Possession claims rose from 6,376 to 19,033, orders from 5,424 to 12,975, warrants from 2,499 to 6,817 and repossessions from 269 to 3,763.

On a geographical basis, a concentration of claims was seen in London, with 4,854 landlord claims and a concentration of orders was seen in the South East region, with 2,745 landlord orders, accounting for 26% and 21% of the respective totals in January to March 2022.

Despite this, t. was still a decrease of 33% (from 7,239 in January to March 2019) for landlord claims in London and, in the South East region, a decrease of 39% for landlord orders (from 4,486 in January to March 2019).

Commenting on the latest data, founder Ross Boyd says: “Though mortgage and landlords possession actions are down on 2019, pre-pandemic, the 100% increase compared to the first quarter of 2021 is a trend that is worth monitoring.”

“It could be a natural readjustment following the passing of the Coronavirus Act in March 2020. Fortunately, many homeowners are on exceptionally low fixed rates and that will support their ability to maintain payments. It’s what happens when they come to the end of their fixed rates that matters now.”

“Many will be in for a serious rate shock if rates continue to rise, something that will be exacerbated if inflation is still well above target.”