Crisis as families battle to keep homes

STRUGGLING home-owners facing repossession are carrying arrears amounting to an eighth or more of their original mortgage loan, according to a snapshot survey of borrowers before the courts.

The analysis of repossession cases also found that nearly three-quarters of cases entering the courts were mortgage-holders who had borrowed late in the housing boom.

The survey of over 500 repossession cases coming before the Master of the High Court in one month this year was carried out by economic think-tank, the ESRI. Family homes account for eight out of every 10 repossessions being sought by lenders

Findings, seen by the Irish Examiner, detail the counties for the properties; if the property was the borrower’s residence; the marital status of the borrower; the amount in arrears and mortgages as well as the name of the lending institution.

The average loan on a borrower’s residence was nearly €236,000, while the amount increased to nearly €273,000 for a small number of properties that have now been determined as abandoned or unoccupied in cases.

Figures for troubled mortgage-holders before the courts in the same period show the average arrears on a borrower’s residence amounted to nearly €30,000.

For properties that have been abandoned or are now unoccupied, this increased to nearly €36,000 in arrears.

This means mortgage- holders are facing arrears or overdue payments of nearly an eighth of their original mortgage, from the cases examined.

The study showed that 72% of those facing repossession in the court cases examined took out their mortgages in 2006 and 2007 – meaning the majority of loans were taken out towards the end of the housing boom.

The 540 orders analysed were brought in June before the Master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan SC, who prepares cases before they are heard in the court.

The majority of repossession orders lodged during the month were from sub- prime lenders, while a significant number related to family homes and married couples, according to the figures examined for the research.

The Irish Examiner today takes a deeper look at the mortgage debt crisis in the first part of a two-day series. Families losing their homes; politicians; lawyers defending debt-ridden mortgage- holders and sheriffs seizing properties all talk about the reality of the mortgage debt crisis.

One couple have even begun packing their possessions from their family home into boxes as they face being evicted from their house just a few days before Christmas.

With a significant report by the Government- appointed mortgage expert group expected to be published in the coming days, the Irish Examiner also looks at the options facing those with mounting mortgage arrears and under pressure to give up the keys to their home.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.