Saturday 20 July 2019

Long-term mortgage arrears still growing, Central Bank says

The Central Bank
The Central Bank

Shawn Pogatchnik

THE total number of residences in mortgage arrears declined nationwide in the first quarter of this year, but the number of mortgages mired in long-term arrears - particularly in the buy-to-let market – has kept climbing, the Central Bank of Ireland said Thursday.

In its quarterly report the Central Bank said the number of principal dwelling mortgages in arrears exceeding two years had grown to represent 45pc of all such accounts in arrears, up from 42pc in 2017. It said those mortgages have a total of €2.4bn outstanding.

And among buy-to-let mortgages, the growth in arrears exceeding two years was particularly strong over the quarter, rising 8.7pc to represent 11pc of all buy-to-let mortgages. The combined outstanding balance on these buy-to-let mortgages was €3.5bn.

But overall, the Central Bank found the mortgage debt picture improving at the end of March. It said that of the 726,089 mortgages for principal residences in Ireland, 62,834 were in arrears of any kind, an 0.4pc reduction from the end of 2018. This marked the 22nd straight quarterly fall in the national arrears figures for principal home mortgages.

The buy-to-let market kept worsening overall, with 19,671 of the total 111,665 BTL mortgages now in arrears, a 2.2pc increase.

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