Rate rises push up repossessions

The number of repossessions in Britain and Northern Ireland has increased by 32 per cent since April, according to a new report.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has revealed that as interest rates have risen five times during the last year, more mortgage firms have had to turn to solicitors to recover their debts.

As a result of the rise in repossessions, the number of properties appearing in auctions has also trebled over the last decade to 25,115 houses sold at auction this year.

Rics has forecast that repossessions will continue to grow as the impact of the rate rises brings on more mortgage debt.

The institute predicts that by 2008, the number of houses repossessed could double to 45,000 as homebuyers struggle to pay off mortgages.

Oliver Gilmartin, an economist at Rics, warned: "The commercial property market may also see a rise in lots offered at auction as tougher conditions return to the high street as consumers tighten their belts."

The problem is particularly pertinent in Northern Ireland, where property prices have spiralled.

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