Number of mortgages in long-term arrears falls slightly
THE number of mortgage holders who are more than two years in arrears has fallen slightly.
There were 200 fewer homeowners more than 720 days in arrears in November, compared with the previous month, new figures from the Department of Finance show.
Homeowners in arrears for more than two years make up the majority of those behind on their payments. A total of 27,203 residential mortgage holders are more than two years in arrears at the six main domestic banks.
These people are at risk of losing their homes as they are likely to have built up large levels of arrears.
Yesterday, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said banks were dealing with home repossessions "reasonably well".
He said: "This idea of tens of thousands of houses being repossessed is just not correct."
Mr Noonan told the Dáil: "I appreciate that it's very hard on people. I appreciate people have lost their jobs and I appreciate the concerns and I appreciate how upset people are.
"But in a very extreme situation, it's been handled reasonably well by the banks."
He said a relationship framework is in place where the Government does not interfere in commercial banking decisions.
Mr Noonan said statistics from the Central Bank showed that in the July to September period last year legal proceedings were issued in 1,687 cases concerning residential mortgages.
"There were 798 cases where court proceedings concluded, but arrears remained outstanding and the court granted a repossession order in 329 cases."
Mr Noonan said a total of 422 properties were taken into possession by lenders during that quarter and 215 of these surrenders were voluntary.
"It's a very small amount to go through the system since the changes were made by the Minister for Justice and now that the Money and Budgeting Advice Service are assisting people before the courts, that will diminish even further," Mr Noonan said.
The new Department of Finance figures show that the number of mortgage accounts in arrears for more than two years has now fallen for seven months in a row.
The figures relate to mortgages issued by AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB, ACC, KBC Bank and Ulster Bank.
The overall number of residential mortgage accounts in arrears for any length of time was just under 70,000.
This figure has declined by 25pc since November 2014, the department said.
The number of mortgage accounts more than 90 days in arrears now stands at 47,500, down from 64,000 in November 2014.
Around 111,500 mortgages were restructured by last November, a rise of 9pc since the same month in 2014.