New Home Mortgage Arrears Figures - Still No Effective Action, says FLAC

18 November 2011

Figures released today by the Central Bank in relation to residential mortgage arrears come a year and a day after the Cooney Expert Group on Mortgage Arrears issued its report and recommendations. According to legal rights group FLAC, at that time, 40,472 mortgages were in arrears. Today, the number of family home mortgages in arrears is 62,970, an increase of over 55%.

When the number of mortgages which have been renegotiated to make payments more manageable is also taken into account, today's figures show a total of 99,346 distressed home mortgages, or 12.85% of all home mortgages.

FLAC said that in the breakdown of restructured mortgages, where people have rescheduled payments to make them more manageable, only about 1 in seven is paying more than interest alone. Arrangements which see borrowers paying only their interest, or less than interest or having a moratorium on payment account for 54% of all the rescheduled mortgages. In addition over 12.5% of rescheduled mortgages involve changes to the term of the mortgage. According to FLAC's director general Noeline Blackwell "Inevitably therefore, with these arrangements many people are building up more long term debt."

Noting that the Oireachtas debate on the Keane report is due to conclude next week, Ms. Blackwell said "The increase of 55% in a single year of the number of mortgages in arrears should have a galvanising effect on the Oireachtas as it concludes its discussion of the Keane report . Action was urgently needed when Cooney issued his report a year ago; obviously, things are much worse now, and still the long promised personal insolvency strategy and legislation has not been produced. That action should be prioritised and properly resourced."



Editors' notes:

1. FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is an independent human rights organisation dedicated to the realisation of equal access to justice for all. It campaigns through advocacy, strategic litigation and authoritative analysis to contribute to the eradication of social and economic exclusion.

2. The Central Bank released its latest figures on mortgage arrears today, 18 November 2011. Its press release can be accessed at,upfrom72attheendofJune.aspx