IT is a tough time for those on big mortgages but despite the horrific economic circumstances the vast majority are managing to meet their commitments. New figures confirmed that around 40,000 homeowners have now fallen behind on their repayments. Technically they are in arrears when they fall three months behind. Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield warns that arrears levels are likely to get worse.
He said: "We think it will get worse before it gets better. But it definitely will not reach Morgan Kelly levels of 100,000 or higher."
That is an important statement from him because the figures mooted last week were both startling and frightening.
The new official figures bear testament to how homeowners will always strive to pay the mortgage no matter what. Home ownership remains a central aspiration regardless of the slump in property values. And that explains why the figures are not as bad as they might be.
For those who have sadly found the struggle too much there is not a lot of solace. There will not be a debt forgiveness scheme, according to the final report of the government-appointed expert group.
However, there is a deferred interest scheme which will allow homeowners to put aside the interest they can't pay at the moment for as long as five years.
It is calculated that would save homeowners between €700 and €800 over that period. It is a pittance -- the equivalent of a cup of coffee a week -- when broken down into monthly segments.
It begs the obvious question: why bother with it at all?
Surely with a little bit of creativity those who have genuinely fallen on hard times can be helped in a realistic way to hold on to their homes until, to quote our Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, we have 'turned the corner'?