The Central Bank of Ireland has published its latest residential Mortgage Arrears & Repossessions Statistics from Quarter 3 2018.

The figures have revealed that the number of family homes being repossessed has fallen, with the improving economy helping to cut the number of mortgages in arrears.

The figures show 191 homes were repossessed in July to September, down from 292 in April to June.

The vast bulk of the repossessions are carried out by banks, the figures show. Of the 191 homes taken in July to September, just 30 were done by “non-bank entities” – and not all of those are vulture funds.

A Central Bank spokesman said “1,417 family homes were repossessed last year. For the first 9 months of this year, the number was 847.”

“The data showed the number of mortgages in arrears has continued to fall. At the end of September, 64,510 family home mortgages were in arrears, down 2.9pc compared to the end of June.”

Key figures from the report show:

The number of mortgage accounts for principal dwelling houses (PDHs) in arrears over 90 days continued to decline in Q3 2018, marking the twentieth consecutive quarter of a fall in the number of accounts in this category. 

The number of accounts in arrears over 720 days continued to fall, and Q3 2018 marked the thirteenth consecutive decline.    Non-bank entities now hold 10 per cent of all PDH mortgage accounts outstanding; 8 per cent are held by regulated retail credit firms, with the remaining 2 per cent held by unregulated loan owners. Unregulated loan owners hold 17 per cent of all PDH mortgages in arrears over 720 days

At end-September 2018, there were 728,075 private residential mortgage accounts for principal dwellings held in the Republic of Ireland, to a value of €98.2 billion. Of this total stock, 64,510 accounts were in arrears, representing a decrease of 1,918 accounts or 2.9 per cent over the quarter. Some 45,178 accounts (6.2 per cent) were in arrears of more than 90 days.[2]

The number of accounts in arrears over 90 days fell by 1.7 per cent over the quarter, marking the twentieth consecutive decline in this category. The outstanding balance on all lenders’ PDH mortgage accounts in arrears of more than 90 days was €9.3 billion at end-September, equivalent to 9.4 per cent of the total outstanding balance on all PDH mortgage accounts.  The number of accounts in arrears over 720 days was broadly stable, declined by just 199 accounts or 0.7 per cent, in September. This was the thirteenth consecutive decline in this category. Accounts in arrears over 720 days now constitute 43 per cent of all accounts in arrears, and at €2.4 billion represent 90 per cent of arrears balances outstanding.

Legal Proceedings and Repossessions:

During the third quarter of 2018, legal proceedings were issued to enforce the debt/security on 509 PDH mortgage accounts. During Q3 2018, there were 242 mortgage accounts where court proceedings concluded but arrears remained outstanding. The Courts granted an order for repossession or sale of the property affecting 120 accounts.  A total of 161 properties were taken into possession by lenders during the quarter, down from 245 properties in the previous quarter. Of the properties taken into possession during the quarter, the majority of properties, at 93, were voluntary surrendered or abandoned. The remainder, at 68, were repossessed on foot of a Court Order. During the quarter, 202 properties were disposed of by lenders. As a result, lenders were in possession of 1,657 PDH properties at end-September 2018.

At end-September 2018, there were 116,129 residential mortgage accounts for buy-to-let (BTL) properties held in the Republic of Ireland, to a value of €20.3 billion. Some 20,579 (18 per cent) of these accounts were in arrears, compared to 21,294 accounts at end-June 2018, reflecting a decrease of 3.4 per cent over the quarter. Of the total BTL stock, 17,032 or 15 per cent were in arrears of more than 90 days, reflecting a decrease of 1.9 per cent over the quarter. The outstanding balance on all BTL mortgage accounts in arrears of more than 90 days was €4.6 billion at end-September, equivalent to 23 per cent of the total outstanding balance.