The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reports today that the number of homes repossessed in Britain in the first six months of the year has risen by almost 50% (compared with last year), to the highest since 1999.
Repossessions rose to 18,900 from 12,800. Although this is not good news, it needs to be put in context. In the first half of 1991 home repossessions hit a peak of 38,900.
Homeowners are continuing to face difficulties, as they try to refinance fixed rate mortgage deals that have run out.
Alastair Darling and Gordon Brown's solution, to date, has been to leak an idea about possibly suspending stamp duty. All well and good except:
1 It does not help those who cannot find mortgages.
2 The uncertainty over whether this is a genuine proposal or not will cause people to delay purchase, thus further undermining the market.
A little more thought would be best, before they leak any more ideas.