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There could be a "sharp increase" in the number of homes being repossessed during 2008, an expert has warned.

Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at mortgage adviser John Charcol, said that as interest rates are high and many lenders have tightened their criteria following the crunch, those with bad credit ratings may be unable to remortgage.

Such homeowners would be forced to remain with their current lender and pay higher rates, he continued.

"A lot of them just won’t be able to afford that, and they can’t remortgage because of the way the lenders have tightened their criteria – then they are really between a rock and a hard place," Mr Boulger warned.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has recently commented that it expected arrears and repossessions to rise during 2008 because of the number of short-term fixed-rate deals coming to an end.

However, it warned the trend will be more pronounced as a result of the credit crunch.

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