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Mortgage arrears continue to fall

The total number of mortgages in arrears over 90 days that have not been restructured stood at 43,746 at the end of December, compared with 48,043 at the end of last September, according to figures released by the Department of Finance.

The total number of mortgages in arrears fell from 96,115 to 89,476 over the same period. The total level of mortgages in arrears over 90 days is 62,266, which is a 1,930 drop on the previous month. There were 27,210 mortgages in arrears less than 90 days.

A total of 18,520 mortgages have been restructured, with 14,319 deemed to be permanently restructured.

Arrears capitalisation is the most popular type of permanent restructuring, followed by split mortgages; term extensions; interest only and the hybrid solutions. The Department of Finance collects data from the six main banks operating in Ireland — Bank of Ireland, AIB, Ulster Bank, PTSB, ACC, and KBC — at the end of every month.

The number of buy-to-let mortgages at the end of November stood at 29,953, which is a 1,409 decrease on the previous month. There was a 1,466 decrease in buy-to-let arrears over 90 days to 24,448. The Central Bank has sent inspection teams into the banks to ensure they are meeting the agreed targets and that the restructuring solutions put in place are sustainable.

In their last reviews of the Irish economy, both the IMF and the European Commission cited mortgage arrears as one of the main challenges facing the economy. It is predicted that rising property prices, particularly in Dublin will help stabilise further the arrears problem.

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