North West is repossession hotspot

The area was closely followed by the North East and Wales, while the South West had the lowest rate.

The North saw 44% more repossessions than the South, as nearly eight in 10 Northern towns saw more repossessions than average.

Repossessions have fallen in every region in 2013 from 2012.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: “Both the North West and the North East are still paying the price of recession-driven public sector job cuts – which stimulated a glut of local repossessions.

“The whole country is now in recovery, but the North has the furthest to go to catch up, and is comparatively lagging behind.”

The town with the dubious honour of having the highest rate was Oldham.

There are signs that the North-South divide could be closing however, as four of the five biggest improvers yearly came from Carlisle, Harrogate, Telford and Hull.

London is improving more slowly, with repossessions in the capital falling 8% between 2012 and 2013 compared to the 11% average.

Sexton added: “Rock-bottom interest rates have enabled home-owners to pay down debts, and mortgages have become much cheaper, which has eased the pressure on household finances.

“There is one looming challenge which could throw the repossessions recovery off course. At some point soon the Bank of England may choose to raise the base rate.

“The base rate rise may cause repossessions to temporarily bounce back.”