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'The banks weren't showing compassion, they were waiting for an increase in property prices'

It has been predicted that the number of home repossessions will grow significantly.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE IRISH MORTGAGE Holders Organisation (IMHO) is predicting as many as 25,000 home repossessions will take place over the next two years.

CEO David Hall made the prediction in response to figures published today by The Irish Times, revealing that banks had 7,101 bills for repossessions lodged in Irish courts.

In June last year, bills were lodged for more than 1,600 homes in just one month.

Hall told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland the figures appear ‘startling’, but he didn’t find them surprising, and they could grow significantly over the coming months.

He claimed that the recent rise in the number of home repossessions wasn’t due to ‘any compassion shown by banks’.

“Over the last couple of years, banks have sat back, said a few prayers, held hands, and their dreams and wishes have come true,” Hall said.

Property prices have increased, and for every percentage point of an increase in the property market, it adds a number of million, if not €20 million, to the bank’s balance sheets.

Hall added that repossessed homes will now be of a much higher value.

He noted that most of those who are having their homes repossessed lived in normal houses, and noted that some will now face going on the housing list and social welfare payments.

The process is long and uncertain, he said, with many not understanding how exactly the court proceedings takes place.

The number of mortgage accounts for principal dwelling houses in arrears fell in Q4 2014, according to figures published by the Central Bank.

A total of 110,366 (14.5%) of accounts were in arrears at end-Q4, a decline of 6.4%.

Read: Courts ‘cannot cope’ with amount of home repossessions >

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Nicky Ryan

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