Saturday 20 January 2018

Banks must tackle home debt

Yesterday's figures from the Central Bank, showing that the level of mortgage arrears is still rising rapidly, should serve to dampen any premature hopes of a recovery in the housing market. With over one-in-10 of all homeloans now more than 90 days in arrears, it is clear that we are staring at an unfolding social tragedy, which, unless urgent action is taken, could result in tens of thousands of people being forced out of their homes.

According to the Central Bank's latest mortgage arrears statistics, 77,630 mortgages, 10.2pc of the total, were more than 90 days in arrears at the end of March. This means that the number of mortgages more than 90 days in arrears has increased by more than 28,000, or more than 56pc, over the past 12 months.

Unfortunately, these statistics don't tell the full story. A further 38,688 mortgages had been restructured but were now compliant with their revised repayment terms. Add these and the number of mortgages restructured and/or in arrears rises to 116,288, more than one in seven of all homeloans.

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