Almost half of Irish mortgage arrears cases over two years in default

Of the borrowers with restructured loans, 14% have breached their new terms

Some 45 per cent of Irish owner-occupiers mortgages that were in arrears at the end of March are more than two years behind in repayments

Some 45 per cent of Irish owner-occupiers mortgages that were in arrears at the end of March are more than two years behind in repayments

 

Almost 100,000 owner-occupier loans had been restructured by banks at the end of March, but 14 per cent of borrowers had already breached their new terms.

The number of owner-occupier loans that were classified as restructured by banks at the end of March stood at 99,707, with 86 per cent of these cases comprised of borrowers that were sticking to their new arrangements.

Some 45 per cent of Irish owner-occupiers mortgages that were in arrears at the end of March are more than two years behind in repayments, according to figures from the Central Bank.

The latest Central Bank update on arrears statistics, published on Thursday, showed that ratio of accounts that are more than 90 days behind in repayments fell by 0.4 per cent in the first three months of 2019 to 6 per cent, marking the 22nd consecutive quarterly drop.

However, a decline that had been seen among arrears cases of more than 720 days up until early 2018 has slowed in recent quarters and increased marginally in the first quarter of 2019, the Central Bank said.

“Accounts in arrears over 720 days accounted for 45 per cent of all accounts in arrears at end-March, and at €2.4 billion, represented 88 per cent of arrears balances outstanding,” it said.

Unregulated loan owners

Non-bank entities currently hold 13 per cent of the Republic’s 726,089 owner-occupier mortgage accounts, with 9 per cent owned by regulated retail credit firms and 4 per cent by unregulated loan owners, the latest figures show.

Almost 80 per cent of restructured loan accounts were not in arrears at the end of March. During the first three months of the year, courts granted lenders orders to repossess or sell 147 private dwelling homes. Some 1,441 such properties were in the possession of lenders at the end of the reporting period.

The level of arrears in the buy-to-let sector rose in the early months of 2019. Of the total buy-to-let mortgages in the State, 15 per cent were in default for at least 90 days in March, up 4 per cent over the quarter.

Buy-to-let accounts greater than two years in arrears rose by almost 9 per cent during the quarter, at 12,234 cases.