Latest data from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has indicated that mortgage repossession claims increased by 40 per cent over the past year, as higher interest rates and rising living costs impact borrowers’ ability to service their home loans.
The figures show that there were 4,035 mortgage possession claims lodged in the first quarter of 2023 – a 40% increase on the same quarter in 2022. Meanwhile, mortgage possession orders rose by 11% to 2,540, while warrants went up by 20% to 2,624. The number of repossession by county court bailiffs increased by 24%, though remained at a historically low figure of 718.
The pattern is repeated for landlord possession actions. When compared to the same quarter in 2022, landlord possession claims increased from 19,031 to 23,395 (23%), orders from 12,966 to 17,660 (36%), warrants from 6,874 to 10,469 (52%) and repossessions from 3,809 to 6,421 (69%).
Increases in possession claims have been recorded in all regions. Private and social landlord claims remained concentrated in London (with 5 and 2 of the highest 10 claim rates respectively).
In the mortgage market the median average time from a claim to a mortgage repossession has decreased to 60.2 weeks, from 110.2 weeks in 2022.
A statement from the MoJ said that repossession claims have risen steadily since pandemic restrictions on this legal action. However it added that the number of claims, orders, warrants and repossession remain below pre-Covid levels. It said that despite the increase in volumes the civil court is managing demand.