Council of Mortage Lenders reveals that 40,000 properties were taken into possession in 2008 and predicts a further 75,000 in 2009

Home repossessions rose by 54% last year, and will almost double again this year, according to the latest figures from mortgage lenders.

The figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show that 40,000 properties were taken in to possession in the whole of 2008, up from 25,900 in 2007. The organisation is predicting that a further 75,000 repossessions will occur in 2009.

It blamed the “worsening economy and rising unemployment” for the figures.

However, the latest quarterly update shows repossession fell in the past three months of 2008 to 11,100 from 10,400 in the previous quarter. In total, it said the yearly figure was 5,000 less than it had originally feared because of the actions of mortgage lenders to help homeowners in distress.

The organisation said the number of mortgages in arrears was still increasing.

Brigid O'Leary, senior economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said the data was a “welcome indication that government intervention to minimise possessions was having some effect.” She added: “In spite of increasingly difficult economic circumstances, both the number of houses taken into possession and the number of mortgage possession actions issued actually fell. However, the proportion of mortgages in arrears continued to increase, and that trend is likely to continue as economic circumstances deteriorate.”