FEWER families in Hartlepool face having their homes taken away from them after falling behind on their mortgage and rent payments, according to new figures.
The town has seen a downward trend over the last year in the number of homes being repossessed.
But there were 10 more mortgage repossessions in Hartlepool between April and June, with 50 cases compared to 40 in the first quarter of the year.
That is down from 65 for the same period last year.
The number of social and private landlords issuing claims for repossession through Hartlepool County Court fell from 65 in the first quarter of the year to 45 most recently.
Staff at Hartlepool Citizen Advice Bureau, in Park Road, say they are seeing fewer people losing their homes as clients seek help earlier.
Manager Joe Michna said: “We have noticed a trend where there has been a reduction in the number of repossessions.
“It is certainly a good sign from our point of view.
“We still deal with people in mortgage arrears, but I think the banks and building societies are under a lot of pressure to do everything possible to reduce reposessions.
“It is costly for them too because they have to pay the legal costs and then there is stil the problem of selling the home again.
“They are more prepared to negotiate with agencies such as ouselves to see what other options are available such as more affordable payment schedules.”
Figures released yesterday by the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed the number of possessions fell from 9,600 in the first quarter of the year to 8,500 between April and June, the lowest it has been since the end of 2010.
Regional figures for court actions were also published yesterday by the Ministry of Justice.
They showed possession claims were down eight per cent nationaly for the latest than quarter.
Despite the downward trend a homeless charity warned cases are still high.
Shelter spokesman Kay Boycott said: “If interest rates increased, many more homeowners would be in the frame for mortgage costs they simply can’t keep up with, leading to more repossessions and ultimately homelessness.”