Number of mortgage arrears at two-decade low across the UK

Number of mortgage arrears at two-decade low across the UK [Photo: iStock/Catalin205]

The British lending sector is continuing to perform strongly in 2016, as new data shows that the overall rate of mortgage arrears across the country has remained slow throughout the third quarter of the year, with no real change from the excellent data experienced three months before. 

According to the figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), the latest data for the quarter to the end of September this year shows that just 0.84 per cent of all mortgages are in arrears. The total value of these arrears is just 2.5 per cent of the whole mortgage balance for the UK. 

What this means is that the UK is now sitting, for the second quarter in a row, at a 20-year low in terms of arrears. It shows that lending is now stringent, and that mortgage lenders are doing all they can to ensure that they lend to the right people who are not going to default. 

Overall, the number of mortgages in arrears has risen ever so slightly to 93,300, up from 92,500 in the second quarter of the year, however, this is more to do with the rise in lending that has taken place, and the fact that the number of mortgages outstanding has also climbed in the same period.

However, while conditions look good for borrowers at the moment, the CML also warned that it's important not to get complacent at a time when economic and financial uncertainty is still an issue. 

"The latest arrears and repossession data still paints a reassuring picture of a market in which financial difficulties are relatively rare, and repossession rarer still. However, there is no denying that economic uncertainty for households is increasing," said CML director general Paul Smee. 

"We would strongly urge all mortgage holders to consider whether there are ways that they can plan ahead for possible changes in the future whether this relates to employment prospects, mortgage payments, or other spending," he added.