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If you’re looking to buy repossessed houses for sale in the UK you’ll be pretty much spoiled for choice; according to Shelter, the housing charity, there are more than sixty regions that bear the unfortunate label of ‘repossession hotspot.’ And fifty-nine of these regions are just happy that they’re not Corby, in the east Midlands, where the highest proportion of homeowners at serious risk of losing their home live. Shelter is blaming the rising unemployment rates caused by the recession for the sharp rise in repossessions this year.
The bald figures, if you would like to see them, are:
At Risk of Repossession Rate (per 1,000)
|Highest Risk Area||Corby, east Midlands||
|Barking and Dagenham||
|Lowest Risk Area||West Dorset||
The figure for Corby is nine times higher than that for West Dorset.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders reported a rise of 15% in repossessed UK homes in the first quarter of 2011; Shelter’s figures corroborate that rise, and add to the picture by reporting a 3.3% average unemployment level in the hardest hit local authority areas. This figure compares with an unemployment average of just 1.4% in the areas with a lower repossession rate.
The majority of the repossession hotspots are in:
- North of England
- Around the Wash
- East London and out to North Kent and Essex coasts
The headline unemployment rate for England actually dropped slightly for the first quarter of 2011 to 7.7%. Nonetheless, it is expected to rise sharply later this year, with the public sector job cuts beginning to influence the figures, and a further rise in repossessions expected.
It’s interesting to note that, despite the link between unemployment and repossession noted above, unemployment in Corby has only risen by 0.9% in three years to September 2010. Mortgage lenders faced lots of criticism: it was widely believed that they had enabled borrowers to take on debt when they were really not disciplined or experienced enough to cope with the responsibility. Yet Shelter’s figures would suggest that the major cause for the high repossession rate is reduced earnings and unemployment. And Shelter’s figures are held up by those from the Consumer Credit Counselling Service; the struggling homeowners asking for their advice last year fell into the following categories:
- Unemployment: 19%
- Reduced Income: 28%
- Over-committed: 08%
Commenting on the research figures, Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, said:
“This research paints a frightening picture of repossession hotspots across the country where homeowners are on the brink of losing the roof over their head. We know only too well that the combined pressures of high inflation, increased living costs and stagnant wages are really taking a toll on people. All it takes is one thing like job loss to tip people over the edge and into the spiral of debt, repossession and ultimately homelessness.”
Two Sides to Every Coin
We recognise, of course, that these figures represent thousands of personal catastrophes; however, they also represent opportunities.
Young couples who are desperate to start climbing the property ladder, as well as property developers, can get a more affordable property by concentrating on the repossessed houses for sale sector of the housing market.
So, if you are actively looking to buy a repossessed property, repossession hotspots can be found in:
- Fenland, next to the Wash (5.04 at-risk homeowners per 1,000)
- Harlow in Essex (4.85 per 1,000)
- Manchester (4.63 per 1,000)
- Peterborough (4.57 per 1,000)