Home repossessions 33% higher in the North than the South
The North-South divide in housing repossessions has widened to its largest in six years, according to e.surv chartered surveyors, with 33% more repossessions in the North than in the South. Its analysis of court-ordered repossessions between July 2012 and July 2013 shows that there were 3.2 repossessions per 1,000 households in the North, a third more than the South.
In total, repossessions fell 17% in the year to July, with 66,544 repossession orders in 2012-13 compared to 77,856 in 2011-12.
But in the North, 72% of towns had more repossessions than the UK average. And in the North West, eight in ten towns (79%) had above the UK average number of repossessions.
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: “On a national level, repossessions are falling, as the economy slowly crawls back to health. Mortgages are becoming cheaper, wages are slowly picking up, and the labour market is showing more vitality. But the recovery has been more pronounced in the South, driven forward by booming property and labour markets in the capital and home-counties. This has been slow to filter through to the North, where staggeringly, seven out of ten Northern towns are repossession hot-spots. In areas like Yorkshire and the North West, wages are recovering more slowly, and fewer jobs on offer.
“As a region, the North has traditionally depended on public sector jobs, but a squeeze in public sector funding has led to loss of jobs for many, and very slow pay increases for others. Pay increases that are consistently below the rate of inflation, have further tightened household budgets, and caused many to fall behind on mortgage repayments. There is still a long way to go before the Northern property market returns to its pre-recession health, and all the while the North is still playing catch-up, and falling further and further behind the South.”
In Chester, the town with the highest rate of repossessions in the UK, there were 8.4 repossessions per 1,000 households in the year to July 2013 – three times the UK average of 2.8 repossessions per 1,000 households. Blackpool, Oldham and Wigan were also among the five worst UK towns for repossessions, with 4.5, 4.3 and 4.2 repossessions per 1,000 households respectively.
Although the South West and the South East have below average rates of repossessions, they show some of the biggest annual increase in repossession rates. Taunton, Torquay and Plymouth all experienced a rise in repossessions in the year to July, with repossessions increasing by 34%, 30% and 28% respectively. In the South East, Brighton and Reading experienced repossession rises of 30% and 27%. But the town in which repossessions increased the most over the past year was Carlisle, where the rate of repossessions grew 37%.
Despite being below the UK average, London shows a big disparity in repossessions. East Central London (0.7), West Central London (1.2), and West London (1.4) had the second, third and fourth lowest repossession rates, outpaced only by Galashiels in Scotland (0.3). But some areas in Greater London have far higher repossessions rates, with Croydon (4.1) the ninth worst town for repossessions in the UK, and Ilford (3.5) and Enfield (3.3) both with a rate of repossessions that is far higher than the average town.
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