Homeowners blame Storm Emma for missing mortgage repayment
Central Bank says bad weather prevented people getting to banks to make repayments
Some 321 homes were taken into possession during the first quarter of the year, according to the Central Bank.
Storm Emma made commuting difficult. Photograph: Alan Betson
The number of mortgages in arrears bucked broader trends by increasing in the first quarter of the year, as Storm Emma prevented homeowners from getting to their bank to make a repayment, the Central Bank said on Wednesday.
In its latest quarterly figures on arrears and repossessions, the Central Bank reveals that the number of accounts in arrears of up to 90 days rose by 5 per cent to 23,295 in the three months to March 31st.
Elsewhere however, the level of mortgage arrears continues to fall in line with the economic recovery. The number of mortgages in arrears of 90 days or more fell for the 18th consecutive quarter, down by 1.7 per cent, while the balance of these accounts in arrears stood at €10 billion, accounting for 10 per cent of all mortgages on homes.
There was also a decline in the number of accounts in arrears over 720 days, down by 1 per cent, but these mortgages, in arrears of two or more years, now account for 41 per cent of all accounts in arrears, and at €2.6 billion, represent 90 per cent of arrears balances outstanding.
According to the regulator, some 117,334 mortgages on a home have been restructured, down by 1,519 on end-December, and 86 per cent of these were deemed to be meeting the terms of the arrangement. Split mortgage arrangements increased over the quarter, accounting for nearly one quarter of all restructure arrangements.
On the buy-to-let side, some 19 per cent (22,545 properties) of all investment mortgages were in arrears as of end-March, down by 3.2 per cent over the quarter.
Arrears of more than 90 days fell by 3.4 per cent, to 18,363 properties, or €5 billion, accounting for 24 per cent of all buy-to-let mortgages by value.
Buy-to-let accounts in arrears of more than 720 days also fell, down by 3.2 per cent to 13,362.
When it comes to repossessions, some 321 homes were taken into possession by lenders during the quarter, up from 311 properties in the previous quarter. The majority of these (80 per cent) were voluntarily surrendered or abandoned. The remainder were repossessed on foot of a Court Order. Given that some 174 properties were disposed of during the quarter, lenders had some 1,802 repossessed homes as of end March 2018.
On the buy-to-let side, lenders were in possession of some 1,839 such properties as of the end of March, having repossessed 154 properties during the period, 83 per cent of which were voluntarily surrendered or abandoned. Lenders appointed rent receivers to 314 buy-to-let mortgages during the quarter, bringing the total to 5,935.
Non-bank lenders repossessed some 43 properties during the quarter, down from 28 properties in the previous quarter, bringing the total number of properties in their possession up to 441.