Nearly 100,000 mortgages in arrears by over three months

Central Bank figures show over 200 homes repossessed by banks in second quarter of year

CIARA O’BRIEN

Mortgage arrears continued to climb in the second quarter of the year, and a more than 200 homes were repossessed by banks, new data from the Central Bank showed today.

The latest figures show more than 97,800 private residential mortgages were in arrears of over 90 days by the end of June, some 12.7 per cent of home loans, compared with 12.3 per cent in the previous quarter, or 95,554 loans.

When it came to longer-term arrears, the number of mortgages that had fallen behind by more than 180 days rose by 3.8 per cent, while quarter on quarter the number of accounts in arrears over 720 days was up by 11.3 per cent.

However, early arrears showed a decline, falling by 3.3 per cent to 45,018 loan accounts.

The Central Bank said a total of 223 properties were repossessed by lenders during the three-month period, with 160 voluntarily surrendered. The banks disposed of 133 properties during the quarter, leaving them in possession of 1,001 properties. Legal proceedings were brought in 270 cases.

More than 79,300 mortgage accounts are now classed as restructured, with 76.5 per cent deemed to be meeting the terms of their current restructure arrangement. The majority of these arrangements are interest only or reduced payments that exceed the interest on the mortgage, with a small number - about 5,400 - paying less than the interest owed.

Some 30,326 buy to let mortgages were in arrears of more than 90 days, rising from 29,369 at the end of the previous quarter.

The Irish Banking Federation said the rise overall arrears was unwelcome, and warned it would likely increase further before hitting a peak, but pointed to the reduction in early arrears as a positive move.

However, financial brokers body PIBA said the current crisis was prolonging the agony for homeowners and was a severe drag on the economy that needs to be tackled urgently.

“The longer that this situation is left to continue the more catastrophic the consequences will be on the wider economy,” chief operations officer Rachel Doyle said.