Saturday 1 October 2016

Repossessions steady despite 'tsunami' threat

Published 09/06/2016 | 02:30

'There were just over 1,000 new bills lodged for repossession of homes with the circuit court in the first three months of the year, figures from the Courts Service show' (stock image)
'There were just over 1,000 new bills lodged for repossession of homes with the circuit court in the first three months of the year, figures from the Courts Service show' (stock image)

The number of orders lodged for repossession of homes has remained steady, despite predictions of a surge in attempts by lenders to use the courts to take ownership of homes.

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There were just over 1,000 new bills lodged for repossession of homes with the circuit court in the first three months of the year, figures from the Courts Service show.

This is in keeping with the level of court orders lodged seeking repossession last year.

Financial experts said banks were slow to seek repossession despite the fact that 36,000 residential mortgage accounts are more than two years in arrears.

Between January and March this year, banks also sought circuit court possession orders for 17 buy-to-let properties and another 149 properties categorised as "other unknown", the figures show.

This means a total of 1,203 orders for possession were lodged in the circuit court in the first quarter of this year.

Just 219 of the more than 1,000 orders sought for homes were granted by the courts in the same three-month period.

In total, some 284 orders for possession were granted out of a total of 1,203 sought.

The circuit courts turned down 653 requests from banks and vulture funds that own books of mortgages.

Founder of Askaboutmoney.com Brendan Burgess said it was extraordinary so few new bills were lodged for possessions with so many in arrears.

"The tsunami of repossessions has receded greatly. There were 1,000 new civil bills lodged. Last year, it was 4,000 in total," he said.

"With 30,000 or so borrowers in arrears over two years, and only about 11,000 bills in total outstanding, it's just astonishing that it is not a lot more."

David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation had predicted a "tsunami of repossessions".

But mortgage broker Karl Deeter said: "Hard facts matter. There is no tsunami of repossessions."

Irish Independent

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