Home reposessions have soared to a 14-year high, according to recent figures.

About 46,000 people lost their homes in 2009, the highest level since 1995 and 15 per cent more than in 2008, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

But the figure was well down on the group’s original forecast that 75,000 people would lose their homes during the year.

Despite rising unemployment, fewer people lost their homes than was expected due to a combination of low interest rates, increased lender forbearance and the introduction of Government schemes to help people who are struggling to keep up with their mortgage.

The Government launched a raft of initiatives to help struggling homeowners, including the Mortgage Rescue Scheme, under which people can sell some or all of their home to a social landlord and rent it back, as well as the Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme, which enables people to defer paying interest on up to 70 per cent of their mortgage for up to two years.

It also introduced a pre-action protocol in November last year, under which the courts can grant a repossession order only if all alternative measures to keep people in their homes failed.

The Government claims that around 330,000 families facing problems benefited from one of the schemes, ranging from free debt advice to help with mortgage interest payments.

But it came in for heavy criticism after only 92 families completed the Mortgage Rescue Scheme by the end of September, the latest period for which figures are available.

The CML figures are also expected to show that 195,000 people were in mortgage arrears at the end of last year, although this would be well down on its original forecast of 360,000.

The group expects repossessions to rise to 53,000 this year, while it predicts 205,000 people will end 2010 in arrears.

The Ministry of Justice is also due to publish figures on repossession orders granted by courts in England and Wales during the fourth quarter today.