NW homeowners given support to avoid repossessions

Michael Hunt

Fifteen 'hotspot' areas in the North West will receive a share of an extra £2.5m from the Government in its pledge to reduce house repossessions.

The Government launched the 'It's Your Home' campaign last September to encourage struggling homeowners to get the help they need to avoid losing their home.

The extra funding being put in to the campaign aims to help those with mortgage worries and to encourage them to seek advice and get a grip on their finances.

The Government identified 86 repossession 'hotspots' in the country at greater risk due to higher levels of unemployment and repossession court orders. The fifteen identified in the North West included:

  • Bury
  • West Lancashire
  • Knowsley
  • Salford
  • Halton
  • Manchester
  • Bolton
  • Liverpool
  • Wigan
  • Oldham
  • Rochdale
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Blackpool
  • Burnley
  • Tameside

New figures from the Financial Services Authority showed that there were 11,752 repossessions during the last three months in the country, which was 15% down on the third quarter of 2009 and 11% fewer than the same period in 2008, taking the total for the year to 54,055 in England.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders have cited the comprehensive range of Government help, lower interest rates and greater lender tolerance and understanding as the key reasons why repossessions are running at half the rate of the last recession.

The Government has put in place a comprehensive range of support for struggling homeowners, and more than 330,000 homeowners in England have received help and advice with their mortgage in the last year alone.

The Government said it has also tightened the rules on lenders so they must prove they have exhausted every possible option before seeking court action. Last year, the number of repossession court orders fell by a quarter and every region of the country saw a fall in repossession court cases.

In the North West, the number of mortgage possession claims issued fell by 27% in the last three months of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008.

However, the Council of Mortgage Lenders has also warned that the pressure on homeowners will remain throughout 2010.

Housing Minister John Healy said: "With the pressure on homeowners set to remain throughout 2010 we must keep the Government support in place. Cutting that special help now would put more families at risk of repossession. So today I am extending the Government's campaign so people know they can get free impartial and practical advice, both online or over the phone.

"We've pulled out all the stops with Government support to help people avoid losing their home. More than 330,000 families have had help and advice with their mortgages over the past year, which is one reason why repossessions are running at half the rate of the last recession."

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