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MORTGAGE ARREARS WORSEN

The Central Bank has published the latest data on mortgage arrears, restructures and repossessions for the period ended December 2011. The figures show that 9.2% of private residential mortgage accounts are in arrears of over 90 days.

Director of Consumer Protection, Bernard Sheridan, emphasised the importance of consumers struggling with mortgage repayments, or those who fear they will fall into arrears, to make contact with their lender as early as possible. He said: ‘It is important that borrowers cooperate fully with their lenders in order to be able to avail of the protections under the Central Bank’s revised Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears.’

At the end of December 2011, there are 768,917 private residential mortgage accounts held in the Republic of Ireland to a value of €113.5 billion. The stock of accounts continues to decline from the 794,609 that were held at the end of September 2009 when this data series commenced. Of the current stock of accounts, 70,911, or 9.2%, are in arrears of more than 90 days. This compares with 62,970 accounts (8.1% of total) that were in arrears of greater than 90 days at the end of September 2011.

Restructuring Arrangements

The data also show there was a total stock of 74,379 accounts that were categorised as restructured at the end of December 2011. This is a 6.7% increase from the stock of 69,735 restructures at the end of September 2011. Of this total, 36,797 are not in arrears and are performing as per the restructured arrangement. The balance of restructured accounts (37,582) has arrears of varying categories (arrears of both less than and greater than 90 days). Therefore, 107,708 accounts are either in arrears of over 90 days or have been restructured and are performing as at the end of December 2011. Arrangements whereby at least the interest only portion of the mortgage is being met account for just over half of all restructure types (51%).

The fourth quarter 2011 of the data series is also the first reporting period which includes data on accounts that have been restructured under the voluntary forbearance arrangement: Deferred Interest Scheme (DIS).

Repossessions

During the quarter ended December 2011, legal proceedings were issued to enforce the debt/security on a mortgage in 95 cases comprising arrears totalling €13.9 million built up on loans equating to €37.8 million. 187 court proceedings were concluded in this quarter, of which the Courts granted orders for possession/sale in 109 cases.

133 properties were taken into possession by lenders during the quarter, of which 50 were repossessed on foot of Court Orders and the balance following voluntary surrender or abandonment. The total number of properties taken into possession this quarter represents a drop of 18% (from 162 properties) compared with quarter three 2011. 118 properties were disposed of in the quarter, meaning lenders held 895 properties at the end of December 2011.

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