SOME 65 “repossession hotspots” have been identified by housing charity Shelter as unemployment levels rise and more homeowners find themselves in negative equity.
Corby in the East Midlands was found to have the highest rate of at-risk homeowners with some 7.56 per 1,000 – nine times higher than the lowest rate in West Dorset of 0.83.
The Northamptonshire town has the highest proportion of homeowners who have been issued with a possession order for their home over the last 12 months, according to the research.
It is closely followed by Thurrock as well as Barking and Dagenham and Knowsley, Merseyside.
A possession order is an advanced stage of the repossession process which means a homeowner is at serious risk of losing their home.
The study by the housing and homelessness charity identified 65 of 324 local authorities as repossession hotspots.
Shelter warns that the figures reflect a need for homeowners across the country to prepare for higher mortgage repayments when interest rates rise as expected later this year.
This research paints a frightening picture of repossession hotspots across the country where homeowners are literally on the brink of losing the roof over their head.
A recent report by the Financial Services Authority said banks are masking the true scale of the threat, with experts predicting repossessions will hit 45,000 next year.
The findings of the charity’s report correspond with these areas having higher and increasing rates of unemployment.
The average rate of unemployment in the local authorities with the highest rates stood at 9.6%, compared to 5.3% in those with the least.
And unemployment has risen, on average, by 3.3% over the last three years in the most at risk areas, compared to a 1.4% increase in the lowest, Shelter said.
The study also identified clusters of local authorities including Thurrock that are among those in the highest risk group.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “This research paints a frightening picture of repossession hotspots across the country where homeowners are literally on the brink of losing the roof over their head.
“We know only too well that the combined pressures of high inflation, increased living costs and stagnant wages are really taking a toll on people.
“All it takes is one thing like job loss to tip people over the edge and into the spiral of debt and repossession and ultimately homelessness.”