Wednesday 16 October 2019

Slight fall in numbers in long-term mortgage arrears

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Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

MORTGAGE arrears figures from the Central Bank show another fall in the overall numbers behind on their payments.

But there is a small change in the numbers in long-term arrears.

This is despite the mortgage arrears issues persisting for years now.

The figures show that overall some 63,246 residential mortgage accounts were in some form of arrears in the last three months of last year.

This was down just 1,264.

The Central Bank said the number of account that are more than three months behind on payments fell back for the 21st time, with 44,009 accounts falling into this category.

However, the numbers in long-term arrears remain high at 27,551.

There was a fall of just 447 in the number of accounts that are classified as in long-term arrears, as they are more than two years in arrears.

These homeowners are most at risk of losing their homes.

Other countries do not have statistics for long-term arrears as homes where there is a mortgage default tend to be repossessed faster than here.

And the new figures show a fall off in the numbers getting a payments restructuring deal from their bank.

A total of 111,504 residential mortgage accounts were listed as restructured at the end of December.

This was down 2,367 compared with the previous quarter.

Just one in three of the accounts that are in some form of arrears have a payments restructuring deal in place.

Some 166 residential properties were repossessed in the three months to the end of the year, up from 161 in the previous quarter. Most of those taken into possession by the lenders were voluntary surrenders, the Central Bank said.

Some 32 residential properties were repossessed by vulture funds in the quarter.

Lenders sold off 242 properties during the quarter, but still hold 1,500 properties.

Legal proceedings were begun or continued by lenders in a bid to repossess homes on 405 mortgage accounts.

The data also shows that non-banking institutions, including so-called vulture funds, now hold 12pc of the total mortgages on family homes in the country.

Two thirds of those loans are held by regulated organisations, with the balance unregulated.

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