Repossessions soar in Ipswich

HOUSE repossessions in Ipswich have doubled in the space of just four years, it emerged today.Amid concerns about the state of the economy and tumbling house prices leaving many in negative equity, new figures show a total of 328 repossession orders were made at Ipswich County Court last year.

HOUSE repossessions in Ipswich have doubled in the space of just four years, it emerged today.

Amid concerns about the state of the economy and tumbling house prices leaving many in negative equity, new figures show a total of 328 repossession orders were made at Ipswich County Court last year.

This is exactly double the number of repossessions (164) made in the same court in 2003.

Experts say the figure is set to surge further in the coming years with rising bills and the worldwide credit crunch leaving increasing numbers of people in the town unable to pay their mortgage bill.


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Ian Burnett, manager of Ipswich's Citizen's Advice Bureau, said the number of people approaching the organisation with debt and housing problems is on the rise.

“I think more and more people are finding it difficult to find the money to balance everything.

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“Unfortunately it seems inevitable that there are likely to be increases in the number of people who may be losing their homes because of the current financial climate.”

Mr Burnett said his team dealt with 8,943 debt-related queries in the year until April 2008 compared to 6,902 the previous year.

Paul Winter, chief executive at Ipswich Building Society, said he fears the number of repossession will grow although he is confident that his firm will not face a big jump.

He said many repossessions are being made by banks and building societies that lend to high-risk borrowers.

“We are currently not seeing an increase in arrears although we are aware there is an increase overall.

“Some are being driven by the increase in interest rates that people are suffering when they come off a fixed-rate deal and find their payments go up and they are struggling to keep up.

“As the economy slows down unemployment will clearly increase and if people haven't got the appropriate insurance more will find it difficult to make mortgage payments.”

The latest repossession figures came to light after a parliamentary question was tabled by West Suffolk MP Richard Spring.

Mr Spring said: Richard said: “These figures are more worrying evidence that under Gordon Brown, our economy is built on debt. Labour's record is one of economic incompetence.

“Thousands of families across the East of England are now exposed to the possibility of losing their home.

“With many households facing soaring bills as their fixed rates come to an end, mortgage lenders should do more to help home owners with the soaring cost of living and help reduce the hardship under Gordon Brown's government.”

Are you struggling to pay the bills? Should more be done to help homeowners? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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