Business Irish

Friday 19 September 2014

Arrears code will speed up repossessions, claims S&P

Published 16/07/2013 | 05:00

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House prices in Dublin rose 5.3pc (and 12pc in south Dublin) over the past year, while prices in the rest of the country fell by 8.9pc
House prices in Dublin rose 5.3pc (and 12pc in south Dublin) over the past year, while prices in the rest of the country fell by 8.9pc

THE Central Bank's revised code of conduct on mortgage arrears will quicken the pace of repossessions, ratings agency Standard & Poor's has said.

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The new code, which determines how lenders treat those behind on payments, took effect on July 1 and gives banks more scope to chase borrowers.

S&P said the revised code would slow the rising rate of arrears but speed up repossessions.

"Importantly, the revised code potentially lowers the grace period before lenders can start repossession proceedings," the agency added.

The clarifications around the definition of unco-operative borrowers, along with the warning letter that borrowers will now receive before the lender classifies them as "not co-operating", could also prompt faster responses from borrowers, accelerating the arrears resolution process.

"In some cases, this could also lead to speedier repossessions," S&P said.

But it added that rising repossessions could increase the housing supply, and possibly depress prices further in the short term. "Irish residential property prices remain 50pc below the 2007 peak, although they have recently begun to stabilise."

The new moratorium on repossessions dropped from 12 months to three months after the Central Bank revised its code.

Some 54,000 homeowners are a year or more behind on their home-loan payments and risk losing their homes.

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