Repossessions reach a 14-year high

Ruth Jackson looks at the rate of home repossessions - at a 14-year high but slowing - and rounds up the rest of this week's personal finance news.

Repossessions have hit a 14-year high. Over the past year, 46,000 people were evicted, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders. That works out at an average of 126 people losing their home every day in 2009. But the rate of repossession is slowing 10,200 homes were seized by lenders in the fourth quarter of 2009, down 13% on the previous quarter. But with 188,300 mortgages ending 2009 in arrears, "homebuyers aren't out of the woods yet", says Scotland on Sunday.

House prices rose 3.2% in January, according to Rightmove. The property website tracks asking prices and reckons the average asking price is now £229,390 a rise of 6.1% on the same time last year.

The Yorkshire Building Society has launched three new mortgage deals. These include an "attractive" three-year fixed rate at 4.14%, says Miles Brignall in The Guardian. The mortgage is available for those borrowing up to 75% loan-to-value and comes with a "relatively low" fee of £495. An offset version is also available with a rate of 4.24%.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

There's 20% off at House of Fraser until Sunday. To get the discount online, enter the code SPRING2010 when you checkout. Or get the discount instore by downloading a voucher from The 20% discount is valid on selected fashion, accessories and homeware. And there is a 10% discount on selected beauty, electricals, furniture, food and fashion brands.

There's loft insulation, and then there's Marks & Spencer loft insulation. The department store is launching a Home Energy Service, starting with loft and cavity wall insulation going on sale from £149. Insulating a loft can save the average homeowner £150 a year on heating bills, says

Internet bank First Direct has increased the rate on its table-topping easy access e-Isa (for a minimum £1 investment). The account now pays 2.75% AER and the rate is guaranteed until 31 August 2011. However, the rate drops to a pitiful 0.2% after that date. So if you opt for First Direct's tempting offer, then you should make sure that you make a note to move your money after 18 months. And with the Isa wars starting to hot up before the beginning of the new tax year, it's worth holding off a little longer in case better deals emerge.

If you fancy tapas out this week, then La Tasca is offering 50% off until next Friday. Just print off a voucher at For those who would prefer pizza or pasta, Strada has a two main courses for £10 deal running until Thursday. Register at, and then print off the voucher.

Budget hotel Travelodge will be launching a £19 room sale this Saturday. The sale starts at 6am and covers stays between 12 March and 31 May 2010. Get in early and you should get a great deal at one of the 392 Travelodges taking part.

Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance. 

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.