HOMEOWNERS are being warned to get help early after South Holland was highlighted as a repossession hotspot.
A new report by homeless charity Shelter says the district is in the top fifth for areas across the country where people are most at risk of losing their homes.
And it says the high levels of unemployment and an expected increase in interest rates could lead to even more people becoming homeless.
On the back of the report, Spalding’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau has urged anyone who thinks they could be running into financial trouble to seek help as soon as possible.
Fran Laing, money advice case worker, said: “So far we have not seen a huge increase in the number of people coming in who are threatened with repossession.
“But I think the real problems will come when interest rates go up, then we will probably see many more people.
“Our message would be that prevention is better than cure and anyone who can see they might be heading for trouble should come to us now.”
Mrs Laing said the CAB is able to offer help dealing with mortgage companies and ensuring the correct protocol is followed in dealing with arrears in a bid to prevent repossession, as well as helping those whose problems have already gone too far.
She said: “If people feel they could be struggling a few months down the line, we would urge them to come to us now before it gets too bad.
“Prevention is better than cure and it would be far better to see us as soon as possible rather than struggling on and waiting until the last minute when they are beyond help.
“But, if it is a lost cause, we can talk people through the repossession procedure and help them look at their options.”
The Shelter report shows that South Holland is ranked 42nd out of 324 districts across the country, with a total of 145 repossession orders issued in the financial year 2010/2011 – 4.34 per 1,000 private households.
It ranks fourth out of 40 districts in the East Midlands region – six places above Boston Borough which saw 80 repossession orders in the same time period (3.66 per 1,000 households).
Nearby Fenland and Peterborough areas were also in the top fifth, ranked 13th (185 orders) and 27th (280) respectively – joining up with South Holland to make up a “red ribbon” of repossession around the Wash in East Anglia.
South Kesteven was ranked 147th nationally, with 135 orders.
Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: “This research paints a frightening picture of repossession hotspots where homeowners are on the brink of losing the roof over their head.
“We know only too well that the combined pressures of high inflation, increased living costs and stagnant wages are really taking their toll on people.
“All is takes is one thing like job loss to tip people over the edge and into the spiral of debt, repossession and ultimately homelessness.”