Covid-19 could lead to mortgage arrears similar to financial crisis

Covid-19 could lead to mortgage arrears similar to financial crisis
The NUIG study says four main retail banks are behind almost half of the cases taken against homeowners.

Covid-19 could see a new round of mortgage arrears similar to the fallout from the financial crisis.

That is the finding of a report that showed so-called vulture funds account for a third of home repossession cases before the courts.

The NUIG study says four main retail banks are behind almost half of the cases taken against homeowners.

However, Karl Deeter from Irish Mortgage Brokers says there has been a drop in the number of court proceedings.

He says: "They are talking about all this stuff as if it has all been happening it's all there its in the system.

"The fall-off in 2018 from the previous year was done 71% in terms of proceedings started."

Before the outbreak of Covid-19, there were already 27,000 mortgage accounts in arrears for more than two years in Ireland.

Some 85,000 mortgages have been restructured due to payment difficulties and many people in long-term arrears fear loss of home.

Dr Kenna, the author of the study, warned that Covid-19 could result in a new round of mortgage arrears and that many of the challenges of the last decade could re-emerge: “It is important not to repeat the mistakes of the past and I would recommend that those facing mortgage payment problems post Covid-19 should be able to avail of the State mediation, personal insolvency and new legislation in 2019 which obliges courts to carry out proportionality assessments."

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