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Home repossessions in Romford and Dagenham were 87% higher than the national average in the last six months of 2011, according to figures.
Parts of the south, including boroughs in east London and Essex compared poorly to the wider region due to high unemployment.
And repossessions in some northern towns are running at more than three times the national average amid a regional gulf in fortunes.
Chester has the highest number of repossessed homes in England and Wales, with 53 in 10,000 houses taken over by banks, compared with the national average of 15 in 10,000, research by e.surv chartered surveyors found.
In the second half of last year, the worst-affected areas were the North East, parts of Yorkshire and towns in the M62 corridor.
In contrast, Oxfordshire saw only 12 homes in 10,000 repossessed, 20% below the national average, and numbers were also low in the Cotswolds, the West Midlands, the West Country, and the southern coast of England.
Weak economic growth and austerity are blamed for the regional divide, with people in the north being more affected by Government cuts due to dependency on public sector employment, and a larger proportion of southerners working in the private sector.
Richard Sexton, business development director of e.surv, said: "Spending cuts, negative wage growth, falling house prices and public sector unemployment have hit the north much harder than the south. This has opened up a gaping geographical divide in repossession levels."