February 20, 2009

Foreclosures in Britain soared in 2008

Foreclosures in Britain soared 54 percent in 2008 as lenders claimed possession of 40,000 homes, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said.

Foreclosures reached a 12-year high, while the number of homeowners in arrears jumped 70 percent, The Times of London reported Friday.

The trade association said 500,000 homeowners could fall three months behind on their mortgages in 2009. In 2008, 219,000 homeowners fell into that category.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders said strenuous efforts were made to keep the numbers from hitting the forecast prediction of 45,000 homes falling into foreclosure, The Times said.

British Housing Minister Margaret Beckett said the government was determined to do everything possible to ensure repossession is always a last resort.

Our mortgage rescue scheme is up and running, more free legal and debt support is available than ever before and we have increased financial assistance to help people pay their mortgage if they've lost their job, Beckett said to The Times.