The Irish Times

Home loans in arrears down for ninth successive quarter

Accounts in arrears for two years down but still make up 40% of troubled mortgages

- CHARLIE TAYLOR

The number of residentia­l mortgages in arrears declined for the ninth successive quarter in the period July to September, according to new figures published by the Central Bank.

A total or 92,291 accounts, equivalent to 12.3 per cent of all residentia­l mortgages, were in arrears at the end of the third quarter, down 6 per cent on the previous three months.

There were 65,584 owner-occupier mortgages in arrears for 90 days or more at the end of September, equivalent to 8.7 per cent of residentia­l accounts. This marks a 6.7 per cent decline compared to the second quarter and is the eighth quarter in which there has been a reduction.

Overall, there were 749,778 residentia­l mortgage accounts in Ireland in the third quarter, which collective­ly were valued at ¤102.5 billion.

Early arrears continued to fall in the three months to the end of September. Accounts in arrears of less than 90 days, stood at 26,707, or 3.6 per cent of all residentia­l mortgages. This is 4.1 per cent lower than in the second quarter.

First decline

Meanwhile, the number of accounts in arrears for over 360 days fell to 50,404, down 14 per cent on the previous three months. Accounts in arrears for more than two years fell by 2 per cent, the first decline recorded in this category since the Central Bank began reporting on mortgage statistics.

Nonetheles­s, accounts in arrears for over 720 days still constitute 40.4 per cent of all residentia­l mortgages in arrears, and 83.7 per cent of arrears outstandin­g.

Some 120,806 mortgage accounts were classified as having been restructur­ed by the end of the three months under review, reflecting a quarter-on-quarter increase of 1.9 per cent. Of these, 86.8 per cent were seen to be meeting the terms of their agreement.

During the quarter, legal proceeding­s were issued by banks to enforce debt in 1,687 cases. Overall, there were 798 cases where court proceeding­s concluded, but arrears remained outstandin­g. In 329 cases the courts granted an order for repossessi­on or sale of the property.

A total of 422 properties were taken into possession by lenders during the three months under review.

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