“Your home is at risk if you do not keep up your mortgage repayments.”
It may be a standard warning but repossession is a heartbreaking reality for some people who find themselves in mortgage arrears.
Luckily, the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show that fewer people lost their homes to repossession in 2015 than the previous year.
Fewer than one in 1,000 mortgages ended in repossession in 2015, according to the latest update from the CML.
The total number of repossessions was 10,200 – less than half that in 2014, 20,900.
That’s not the only good news.
With fewer than one in 100 mortgages in any sort of arrears, the annual arrears rate is also at its lowest for more than a decade, the CML said, at 0.92%.
According to the council’s quarterly data, arrears for homeowner mortgages were at 1.03% at the end of 2015, with buy-to-let mortgages at a lower rate of 0.31%.
Effectively, there is generally a lower prevalence of arrears in the buy-to-let market.
But the situation is reversed when it comes to repossessions.
There was around one repossession per 2,500 mortgages in the buy-to-let market in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to one in 5,000 in the homeowner market.
Across the whole market, the majority of mortgage holders had relatively modest levels of arrears, under 5% of the mortgage balance, the CML said.
The number of people with mortgage arrears of more than 10% of their balance was 23,700 – down from 24,200 at the end of 2014.
CML director general Paul Smee said: “Of course it is good news that the levels of mortgage arrears and repossessions remain low and falling.
“But, at the risk of sounding as if we are crying wolf, we would continue to urge all borrowers to plan ahead for a time when the interest rate environment may be less benevolent.
“Lenders do not wish to see borrowers who are coping currently falling into difficulty if and when rates do eventually rise.”
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has members including banks, building societies and other lenders who undertake around 95% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK.
There are 11.1m mortgages in the UK, with loans worth more than £1.3trillion.