Banks attempt to repossess 7,000-plus homes

Mortgage holders’ spokesman warns that repossessions will reach 25,000 this year

David Hall, of the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Association: “The banks can get a rental income from the buy-to-lets whereas with a family home they want the residents out so they can sell it.” Photograph: The Irish Times

David Hall, of the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Association: “The banks can get a rental income from the buy-to-lets whereas with a family home they want the residents out so they can sell it.” Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Banks are seeking to repossess more than 7,000 homes across the State, according to latest figures from the Courts Service.

Data released to The Irish Times by the courts service indicates that, as of January 1st, some 7,101 civil bills for repossession had been lodged by the banks across the State’s 26 circuit courts.

The largest volume, 1,420, are lodged in Dublin Circuit Court, followed by 564 in Meath, 543 in Cork Circuit Court and 412 in Galway. The next-highest number, 405, are active in Co Kildare, underlining increasing distress among mortgage holders in the commuter counties around Dublin. In Wicklow there are 255 active bills for repossession lodged by banks.

Data on the number of civil bills lodged, repossession orders granted and bills still active are gathered every quarter. The next data, for January to March this year, will be available “around late April”, said a spokesman for the court service.

However, an examination of the full-year data for 2014, broken down by county, which has also been released, indicates that applications to repossess homes were being lodged at an average rate of 680 per month last year, suggesting the number of active bills before the courts may now exceed 8,000.

In all, 8,164 civil bills for repossession were lodged with the courts last year. The highest number lodged in any court in any one month was 382 in Dublin Circuit Court in March last year. The highest number lodged nationally was in June last year when banks lodged bills in respect of 1,632 homes.

Exceeded

In December, for example, 694 bills to repossess family homes were lodged across the State compared with 21 for buy-to-lets and 167 for other/unknown dwellings. In November, 350 applications were in respect of primary homes, 24 were for buy-to-lets and 67 for other/unknown dwellings.

David Hall, of the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Association, said the preponderance of primary family homes in the repossession figures did not surprise him. “The banks can get a rental income from the buy-to-lets whereas with a family home they want the residents out so they can sell it.”

Figures published last week by the Central Bank show there were 110,366 residential mortgage accounts, 14.5 per cent of the total, in arrears at the end of 2014.

Next wave

In all, 1,063 court orders for repossession were granted last year, an average of 88 per month. The highest number, 253, were granted in Dublin, followed by 84 in Cork, and 50 in each of Waterford and Limerick.

In the commuter counties, 48 repossession orders were granted in Meath last year, where 607 applications for repossession had been lodged, leaving 564 still active. In Kildare, 48 repossession orders were granted last year where 453 had been sought, leaving 405 still active; and in Wicklow, 33 repossession orders were granted, 288 having been sought last year.

The counties where the fewest orders were granted were Sligo, with just six; Galway, where nine were granted; and Kilkenny and Donegal with 13 orders each.