Level of early arrears down in first quarter, but long term distress grows – Central Bank

The number of mortgage accounts in arrears for over 90 days fell for the second quarter in a row in the three months to the end of March, new figures from the Central Bank show.  

The Central Bank figures show that the proportion of residential mortgages in arrears for more than 90 days was 12.2% at the end of the quarter, down from 12.6% in the previous three months.

The number of mortgage accounts in early arrears – less than 90 days – fell by 2.4% in the first quarter. This compares to a fall of 5.7% in the previous three month period.

However the numbers of arrears for more than 720 days rose by 5%, leaving more than one in four homeowners in distress for two years. The proportion of buy-to-let arrears over 90 days also edged up to 21.5% from 21.1%.

Overall, a total of 132,217 – or 17.3% – of mortgage accounts were in arrears at the end of the first quarter of 2014, a decline of 3.2% compared to the last quarter of 2013.

It also marked the third quarter of decline in a row.

The Central Bank said that a total of 92,442 principal dwelling house mortgage accounts were classified as restructured at the end of March, an increase of 10% on the previous three month period.

Of these restructured accounts, over 80% were deemed to be meeting the terms of their new agreement.

Today’s figures also show that just over 3,000 legal proceedings were issued against homeowners in the first three months of the year, double the amount in the previous three months.