More than 1,300 homes were repossessed in England and Wales during the first month of the year, the latest Land Registry data shows.
The largest year-on-year increase in repossessions was in London where 171 homeowners gave up the keys to their homes in January 2013, compared to just 134 in January 2012 – a rise of 28%.
There was also a significant rise in Wales, with 110 people handing back the keys, compared to 89 residents in January 2012 – a rise of 24%.
Patrick Connolly of financial advisory group AWD Chase de Vere, said while the rise in repossessions in London and Wales was unsettling, the wider picture for the UK was much better.
He explained: “It is positive that generally repossession levels are coming down. That said, there are still a large number of families who are struggling to hold on to their homes. This situation would get significantly worse if we reach the stage when interest rates begin to rise.”
Connolly’s assessment of the housing market was reflected in the figures, with a drop in repossessions in the Midlands (East and West), East Anglia, South East, South West and Yorkshire & Humber.
However, he warned that a change in the government’s fiscal policy could have huge repercussions.
He added: “We don’t see interest rates rising in the next couple of years, but they will at some point. Should this happen, things would become much more difficult for hundreds of struggling families.”
The highest regional reduction in repossessions was in the West Midlands where repossessions dropped 48% comparing January year on year.
Overall, the number of repossessions was down 18% across the UK comparing to the two figures for January.