44,000 behind on mortgage payments
Published 28/02/2011 | 14:42
More than 44,000 homeowners are at least three months behind with their mortgage repayments.
Figures from the Central Bank show that the number of householders unable to keep up with their monthly repayments increased by 10% in the final few months of 2010.
According to the data, 106 homes were repossessed in the last quarter - taking the total number since records began in July 2009 to 422.
The September-December rate of repossessions is the highest in 18 months since the Central Bank started detailing the extent of the arrears crisis.
The figures also reveal a 41% increase in the number of lenders asking the courts to take action against debt-hit homeowners.
Banks, building societies and other mortgage providers took legal action in 297 cases.
The report revealed that homes linked to these cases were in arrears to the tune of 9.8 million euro.
The Irish Bankers' Federation said: "The difficult economic circumstances in which some borrowers find themselves today has, not surprisingly, given rise to an increase to 5.7% (of all mortgage accounts) in the level of arrears of 90 days or more.
"While the vast majority of borrowers continue to meet their mortgage repayments, it is important that those borrowers in or facing difficulties are assisted in every reasonable way possible."
The Free Legal Advice Centre has now called for stronger measures to address the mortgage arrears problem.