EVERY ten minutes a home is repossessed somewhere in Britain, new figures revealed yesterday.
The statistics, for the three months to September, showed repossessions were almost double that recorded over the same period a year earlier. There was a rise of 24 per cent in the number of homeowners falling behind with mortgage repayments.
Yesterday's figures, from the Financial Services Authority, showed that 13,161 people lost their homes between July and September last year, a 92 per cent annual rise. This works out at 144 homes a day – or six an hour.
The number of people in arrears, equating to about three months of repayments, has been rising steadily for more than a year. But latest figures showed a 10 per cent jump between April and September, which experts consider "more significant".
But despite the steep jump in repossession levels, the number of homes that were sold by lenders rose only slightly to 7,687, compared with 7,000 in the second quarter of last year.
Government schemes to provide householders with protection on mortgages worth up to 400,000 for up to two years started earlier this month.
But there are concerns that the total number of repossessions for 2008 could top 75,000 homes. Peter Bolton King, the chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: "Worryingly, these figures appear to show that the six-month delay on repossession orders that many of the banks announced at the end of last year was not taken soon enough.
"Most importantly, it demonstrates the vicious cycle of recession," Mr Bolton King went on. "Unemployment leads to missed mortgage payments and repossessions, which, in turn, discourages banks from lending and, ultimately, stops potential buyers getting on to the property ladder in the first place."
Grant Shapps, the Tory shadow housing minister, said: "These figures are from before the banking collapse, so they may be just the tip of the iceberg."