Repossessions up as 30,000 homeowners over two years in arrears with repayments

Lenders take control of 223 properties between April and June

Some 57,163 householders are now more than a year behind on payments, while just over half of those are at least two years behind. Photograph: Frank Miller

Some 57,163 householders are now more than a year behind on payments, while just over half of those are at least two years behind. Photograph: Frank Miller

 


Lenders stepped up the repossession of homes where mortgages were in arrears in the second quarter, taking control of 223 properties between April and June, compared with 166 between January and March.

Some 63 of these properties were repossessed on foot of a court order while 160 were voluntarily surrendered, according to the latest data from the Central Bank.

The figures also showed an increase in the number of mortgage accounts in long-term arrears. Some 57,163 householders are now more than a year behind on payments, while just over half of those are at least two years behind.

The total value of those arrears stood at €1.16 billion, suggesting the average debt of those more than two years behind was about €40,000.

The Central Bank figures show nearly a fifth of mortgage holders are in some sort of arrears.


Private dwellings
The number of mortgages on private dwellings which slipped into arrears of 90 days or more in the second quarter of this year is an increase of 2,320 on the first quarter, bringing the total to 97,874 private residential mortgage accounts.

Mortgage arrears on buy-to- let investment properties also worsened in the second quarter. The Central Bank said 30,326 or 20.4 per cent of mortgage accounts for buy-to-lets were in arrears of 90 days or more at the end of June. This was an increase on the 19.7 per cent recorded at the end of March.

Some 223 properties were taken over by lenders during the quarter, of which 63 were repossessed on foot of a court order. The remaining 160 were voluntarily surrendered or abandoned. During the quarter, lenders disposed of 133 properties and were thus in possession of 1,001 private homes at the end of June.

The Central Bank insisted more customers would have their mortgages restructured over the coming months, with lenders now offering longer- term, sustainable solutions.


Interest only
A total of 23,554 new restructure arrangements were agreed during the second quarter of the year, with interest-only arrangements and reduced payment arrangements accounting for nearly half of all restructures at the end of June.

Banks and the Government have come under increasing fire for the deepening arrears crisis, with the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Organisation yesterday pointing out that the Insolvency Service had yet to process a single debtor.

“Irish mortgage holders are facing exceptionally turbulent months ahead with many threats of repossession in the offing, psychological pressures and persistent neglect of their plight by the policy-makers,” the organisation said.

Last night the Bloomberg agency reported the Government may seek a European Stability Mechanism guarantee for tracker mortgages. Having Europe guarantee the loans would mean they could be funded at the ECB with smaller discounts. That in turn would make the banks more profitable and easier for the Government to sell. It quoted a Department of Finance spokesman as saying a number of options were being explored.