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Numbers in arrears on mortgages fall to 96,000

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Some 110,000 homeowners had their mortgage accounts restructured by the end of last September

Some 110,000 homeowners had their mortgage accounts restructured by the end of last September

Some 110,000 homeowners had their mortgage accounts restructured by the end of last September

THERE has been a significant fall in the number of homeowners who are in arrears on their mortgages, new figures confirm.

The total who are even a day late with their payments has dropped below 100,000 for the first time in more than a year, the figures from the Department of Finance show.

There are now 96,000 mortgage accounts in some form of arrears at the main banks.

Overall, the number of private dwellings in mortgage arrears for 90 days or more has fallen 23pc since August 2013.

Deal

However, the financial advisers' representative body, the Professional Insurance Brokers' Association (PIBA), said that the drop in the numbers behind on their payments was "singularly underwhelming" given that the crisis was now six years old.

When it comes to those who are three months or more in arrears, the numbers fell below 68,000 in September - a fall of 2,000 compared with August.

The figures are for the six main lenders in Ireland - AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB, KBC Bank and ACC.

Banks have permanently restructured the payments on 15,000 mortgage accounts for those who are three months or more in arrears.

Most of those who got a deal on their repayments had their arrears capitalised.

That means that the late payments were added to the overall mortgage amount they owed.

However, a significant 71pc - or more than 48,000 mortgages - have still to be restructured by the banks.

PIBA, the country's largest group of financial brokers representing 870 firms, said: "We need more action and less spin."

PIBA's Rachel Doyle said: "The issue that should be of most concern to policymakers is the fact that arrears capitalisation is still by far the most common arrangement favoured by lenders for the considerable number of cases they term 'restructured'."

She said that this was fine for those now able to start repaying their mortgage again.

However, for others she argued that it does not amount to a realistic option. It is just storing up problems for the future.

"It merely amounts to a repackaging of the problem without dealing with it," she said.

"We need more action and less spin. More realistic and urgent solutions are badly needed.

"To date there has been a catastrophic failure to face up to the situation with only minimal improvement among some lenders," added Ms Doyle.

"Those in arrears cannot get on with their lives with any sense of certainty about the future," she said.

Certainty

"This lack of certainty is preventing these people from playing a normal active role in the economy."

The figures for buy-to-let mortgages also show there was a sharp increase in the number of rent receivers which were appointed by the banks in September. There were 5,418 receivers appointed by banks to collect rent on their behalf in September, up more than 15pc in a month.

Buy-to-let mortgages in arrears still represent more than a quarter of the total loan books, the Department of Finance said.

Irish Independent