Repossession figures third highest in UK

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WIGAN had the joint third highest rate of home repossessions in the UK in 2013.

New figures show that there were 460 court-ordered repossessions across the borough last year - a rate of 7.4 repossessions per 1,000 households.

Nationally, only Oldham and Romford experienced a higher repossession rate.

Regionally, the North West was the worst hit in England too, with an average of six repossessions per 1,000 households.

However, that figure marked a drop from an average of 6.8 repossessions per 1,000 households the previous year.

The statistics, compiled by e.surv chartered surveyors, showed that, nationally, the number of court-ordered repossessions fell from 59,588 in 2012 to 53,325 in 2013.

That welcome reduction was considered to be largely due to a drop in unemployment and record low interest rates, which have helped struggling borrowers remortgage to cheaper deals.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: “Both the North West and the North East are still paying the price of recession - driven public sector job cuts - which stimulated a glut of local repossessions.

“The whole country is now in recovery, but the north has the furthest to go to catch up, and is comparatively lagging behind.”

Eight in 10 northern towns were home to more repossessions than average in 2013.

Oldham had the highest rate – with 8.6 per 1,000 households – almost double the average in England and Wales.

Wigan Citizens Advice Bureau now operates a helpdesk at Wigan County Court in Darlington Street on mortgage possession days.

Chief executive Chris Harris said: “Many people facing the potential loss of their homes could benefit from early advice and assistance.”

In a recent case, it helped a client whose income had been reduced after he had been put on short time working and was left struggling to make ends meet and trying to manage his debts by missing payments on one to pay another.