This is how many people in Preston have had their homes taken off them

Nearly 100 Preston homes have been repossessed by court order over the last five years.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Bailiffs have repossessed 94 properties mortgaged by homeowners in Preston since October 2014.

Ministry of Justice statistics show county court bailiffs have repossessed 94 properties mortgaged by homeowners in the area since October 2014.

Of these, seven repossessions took place between July and September this year, the latest quarter for which data is available – equivalent to 11.8 in every 100,000 households.

Mortgage lenders can take possession of a property through a county court as a last resort to recover money owed.

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But because many cases do not make it to court, the number of repossessions could be much higher.

Since 2014, lenders have lodged 347 court claims for properties in Preston.

These led to judges granting:

* 134 orders for people to leave their homes by a certain date. These decisions can be appealed or later rescinded.

* 90 suspended possession orders letting homeowners stay, providing they keep up their payments and pay back funds owed; and

* 308 warrants to evict people in breach of previous orders.

Across England and Wales, bailiffs repossessed 25,068 mortgaged properties over the five-year period.

There were 1,205 repossessions between July and September this year – up 29 per cent on the same period in 2018.

Court claims, mortgage orders and warrants are also up from last year, but remain well below levels seen in previous years.

Trade association UK Finance said the increase was partly driven by a backlog of older cases being processed.

Low mortgage rates still help to keep borrowers' repayments relatively affordable overall, it added.

Following the economic downturn in 2008, lending rules were tightened to discourage borrowers from taking out loans they could not pay back.

Fewer homeowners and landlords are now in arrears with their mortgage compared to a year ago, the figures show.

"Lenders continue to show flexibility to borrowers in financial difficulty and possession is always a last resort," UK Finance's report into the latest statistics said.

It continued: "The proportion of homeowner mortgages in arrears remains at historically low levels, with the vast majority of borrowers continuing to repay their mortgages in full and on time each month."