One in ten mortgages in Ireland now in arrears

One in ten mortgages in Ireland now in arrears

Figures released by the Central Bank show that one in 10 mortgages are in arrears of more than 90 days, and that 170 houses were repossessed in the first quarter of 2012.

The residential mortgage arrears and repossessions statistics for the first three months of 2012 show that 10.2% are over 90 days in arrears -- up from 9.2% in the last quarter of 2011.

Exactly 59,437 mortgage accounts are more than 180 days in arrears, which is 7.8% of the total of 764,138 private residential mortgage accounts for principal dwellings in Ireland.

The number of mortgages more than 180 days in arrears has also risen, up from 6.9% of mortgages in the last quarter of 2011.

During the last quarter banks repossessed 170 homes. Sixty-five 65 of these repossessions were on foot of a court order, while 105 were voluntary surrenders or abandonments. The banks now have a stock of 961 repossessed homes on their books.

The New Beginnings organization, which works with those in mortgage difficulty said that it was concerned by the level of arrears revealed in the figures.

The Irish Banking Federation (IBF) said that it recognized fully the human impact of the mortgage arrears statistics. It noted the reduction in the first quarter of this year of the rate at which new customers going into arrears.

It says that banks have allocated up to 3,000 staff to deal with arrears allied with increased administrative support, and that they are committed to working with customers in financial difficulties.

Banks are currently finalizing a new loan modification and resolution strategy to assist customers over the medium to long term, and new outreach programs to encourage earlier contact with lenders. The new measure will be rolled out during 2012.

The federation says that its position on personal insolvency is unchanged. It says it should be done in a way that avoids unintended consequences, respects the repayment obligations of customers and minimizes the impact on banks' balance sheets, capitalized to a large extent by taxpayers.