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Sunday 25 February 2018

Number of homeowners in arrears fall - but thousands of families still in debt crisis

More than 34,500 residential mortgage accounts are over two years in arrears. Stock Image
More than 34,500 residential mortgage accounts are over two years in arrears. Stock Image

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

There has been a fall in the number of homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments.

But the overall number in arrears remains high, reflecting the fact that thousands of families are still in a debt crisis.

A total of 79,562 of mortgage accounts were in some form of arrears up to the three months to September, a decline of 3.1pc compared with the previous quarter.

And more than 34,500 residential mortgage accounts are more than two years in arrears, according to the latest figures from the Central Bank.

These people are seen as at high risk of losing their homes, as many have made no payments in the past number of years.

A fall of just 429 was recorded in September in the number of those who are more than two years behind in their repayments, compared with the figures for the summer period.

Some 56,350 mortgage accounts were more than three months in arrears in September, the 12th consecutive decline in the number in arrears for more than 90 days.

Unregulated entities, which included vulture funds, have the highest level of arrears.

Almost four out of 10 of their mortgage accounts, or 38pc, are more than two years behind on their repayments.

This compared with 19pc non-bank lenders, know as retail credit firms.

Non-bank lenders hold a total of 45,678 mortgages, when residential and buy-to-let loans are combined.

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