Banks seek to repossess nearly 4,500 homes, new figures show

More than 7,000 dwellings targeted by lenders up to 2015, says Courts Service

Some 889 applications for repossession were refused by the courts so far this year. Photograph: Getty Images

Some 889 applications for repossession were refused by the courts so far this year. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Banks have sought to repossess almost 4,500 homes since the start of the year, the latest figures from the Courts Service of Ireland indicate.

These are in addition to the 7,100 dwellings lenders had already moved to repossess by January 1st, 2015.

The figures, covering the first nine months of the year, show lenders lodged 4,440 civil bills for repossession across the State’s 26 circuit courts.

Some 3,638 (82 per cent) of these are for primary homes, 89 (2 per cent) are for buy-to-lets with 713 (16 per cent) for “other” dwellings.

However, the number of bills lodged is down compared with the same period last year when 6,420 bills were lodged, indicating a possible levelling off in repossession activity by the banks.

The data, released to The Irish Times, also shows 1,088 repossession orders were granted by the courts in the first nine months of the year, almost 70 per cent more than the 644 granted in the same period last year and 350 per cent more than the 240 granted in the period in 2013.

Of the 1,088 orders made, 758 were for primary homes, 131 were for buy-to-lets and 199 were for “other” dwellings.

Large increases

The highest numbers of repossession orders this year were in Co Cork, where 153 were made between January and September, compared with 38 in the same period last year – a more than 300 per cent increase. Of Cork’s total so far this year, 112 were for primary homes, four for buy-to-lets and 37 for “other” dwellings.

Counties close to Dublin also had large increases, with 78 repossession orders made in Co Wexford, compared with 21 last year. This year, 39 were for primary homes, five for buy-to-lets and 34 for “other”. Co Wicklow, where there were 14 orders last year, saw 41 to the end of September.

Co Meath has had 63 repossession orders this year, compared with 32 to the end of September last year. Co Laois, which also had 63 orders, had just 29 in the same period last year, while Co Louth had 59 orders this year, compared with 21 in the period last year.

Foreclosure clause

However, the trend in the capital, which recorded the highest number of repossession orders in the State in recent years, appears to be slowing.

Some 127 repossession orders were granted in Dublin to the end of September – 86 for primary homes, 20 for buy-to-lets and 21 for “others” – compared with a total of 148 in the same period last year.

A spokesman for the Court Service said the statistics did not necessarily refer to actual repossessions.

“It is a matter for the person or company who obtained the order for possession to pursue its execution,” he said. “Also, these cases are not the only circumstances in which a financial institution is foreclosing. The vast majority of mortgages contain a foreclosure clause which becomes operative, without the need for a court order, if there is any failure in payment of instalments.”

Some 889 applications for repossession were refused by the courts so far this year, while other cases may also have been struck out, or withdrawn by the lenders as they come to voluntary arrangements with borrowers.

The highest number of bills for repossession lodged this year were in Dublin (849), followed by Cork (367), Meath (349), Galway (307) and Kildare (244).