North South Divide

Reposessions Fall But North-South Divide Widens

There has been a sharp fall in the number of repossessions, but the north-south divide has widened to its largest in six years.

There are 33% more repossessions in the north than in the south, according to detailed research released by e.surv chartered surveyors.

In the north, 72% of towns have higher than average repossessions, but repossession rates are rising quickly in parts of the south-west, south-east and London.

The analysis of court-ordered repossessions in the year to Q2 2013, broken down by postcode, found there were 3.2 repossessions per 1,000 households in the north, a third more than in the south where there are 2.4 repossessions per 1,000 households.

This is the largest gap since the onset of the financial crisis. In the year to Q2 2007, there were 14% more repossessions in the north than in the south, a figure which has been steadily rising.

In total, repossessions fell 17% in the year to July, with 66,544 repossession orders in 2012-13 as opposed to 77,856 in 2011-12. The average rate of orders per 1,000 households fell from 3.3 to 2.8.

A 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 seven out of ten northern towns are repossession hot-spots.”

He added: “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.”

Chester had the highest rate of repossessions at 8.4 per 1,000 in the year to July. 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.

Romford, Luton and Croydon also had some of the highest repossession figures at 4.4, 4.2 and 4.1 per 1,000 households respectively.