Rise in home repossessions ‘cannot be ruled out’

By Eamon Quinn

An increase in the number of home repossession orders taken through the courts still cannot be ruled out as vulture funds buy distressed home loans even as the latest Central Bank figures show a steady fall in the number of households in arrears, a leading expert has warned.

Paul Joyce, senior policy analyst at the Free Legal Advice Centres, or Flac, said that the jury was out on whether the sale of loans to vulture funds would lead to a flood of repossessions but that there was still cause to worry.

He said that the latest figures showed no evidence of a “tsunami” but that the huge sale of loans by banks in recent weeks — possibly as many as 10,000 loans to vulture funds — came too late to be included in the latest statistics.

Following the recent loan sales, Mr Joyce said the number of loans in long-term arrears owned by vulture funds will “rise very sharply”.

The Central Bank figures showed there were 66,479 residential mortgages in some sort of arrears by the end of June — down from 71,833 in the quarter to the end of March.

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