Today, the Ministry of Justice provided further evidence of the unfolding housing market disaster. Repossessions in England and Wales are on the rise.
The first quarter data showed an acceleration in repossession claims. Between 2006-7, claims had stabilised at around 33,000 a quarter. Suddenly, that figure has jumped to over 40,000.
If repossession claims continue at this rate for the year as a whole, then the annual rate will be close to the peak of 180,000 observed during the last housing downturn in 1991.
However, repossessions are not evenly spread across the country. In London, the number fell fractionally. Everywhere else, repossessions are growing at double digit rates.
The rise in repossession claims explains why the banks are frantically trying to exit the mortgage market. Defaults are on the rise, and in all likelihood will exceed the levels seen during the last housing crash.
This thing is coming down faster than anyone could have predicted.