Saturday 20 January 2018

Repossession actions fall by 60pc

THE number of High Court actions to repossess homes has plummeted by 60pc in less than a year, new figures reveal.

This is despite stark warnings that Ireland faces mass mortgage default because of household debt and unemployment.

Figures obtained by the Irish Independent reveal that the number of applications to the High Court peaked last year as a Government-backed mortgage moratorium scheme for distressed homeowners came into force.

There were 985 possession applications received last year, with some 293 premises seized on foot of possession orders.

This compares to the first three quarters of 2010, when 394 applications were received.

So far this year, the High Court has ordered the possession of 230 properties. A further 275 properties -- both residential and non-residential -- have been possessed in the Circuit Court.

Last year, 204 possession orders were made -- a 35pc increase on 2008.

The drop in High Court cases -- the vast majority of which are deferred following agreement between lenders and borrowers -- appears to defy a series of warnings that Irish banks are facing mass home mortgage default.

However, legal experts warned that the drop could be masking a wave of defaults that will follow the expiry of the one-year mortgage moratorium.

The courts are still dealing with historic cases from 2006 and 2007 and have yet to deal with the full range of mortgage difficulties aggravated by the 2008 banking crisis.

Fine Gael welfare spokesman Michael Ring last night warned: "With all the signs showing that huge numbers will face repossession, there will be enormous consequences for society and the economy unless this issue is tackled immediately."

Dearbhail McDonald

Irish Independent

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