The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reported that home repossessions dropped by 24 percent in 2010.

Also, the number of mortgages ending 2010 with arrears of 2.5 percent or more of the outstanding balance also fell by 13 percent on the previous year-end.

Specifically, the number of repossessions (36,300) by first-charge mortgage lenders last year represented only 0.3 percent of all mortgages.

During the fourth quarter, the number of repossessions amounted to 7,900 (down 11 percent from 8,900 in the third quarter, and 26 percent below the 10,700 in the same period a year ago).

This was the fifth consecutive quarterly decline in repossessions.

With respect to mortgages, there were 169,600 of them in arrears of 2.5 percent or more as of year-end 2010 (down from 196,000 at year-end 2009).

Also, these represented just 1.49 percent of all home loans.

The CML said it expects a 2011 outturn of 40,000 repossessions and 180,000 mortgages in arrears.

CML’s director general Michael Coogan commented: As we go through 2011, the number of people facing payment pressures may increase if interest rates rise, and as a result of the spending cuts that have resulted in reductions in the level of public support available. We will be monitoring developments closely.”