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Eamonn Farrell/

Storm Emma caused higher levels of mortgage arrears as customers missed in-branch payments

The number of accounts in arrears over 720 days has fallen but these cases still account for 41% of all accounts in arrears.

SEVERE WEATHER CONDITIONS earlier this year contributed to an increased in mortgage arrears levels, according to the Central Bank, because people were unable to get to their bank branches to hand over their monthly payments.

Statistics for the first quarter of this year reveal 71,833 principal dwellings were in arrears at the end of March. That is an increase of 316 accounts over the quarter. The Central Bank said the increase compared with the end of December figures is “due to ‘Storm Emma’ impacting people being able to make payments at their branch”.

The number of principal dwelling houses in arrears over 90 days continued to decline, as well as the number of accounts in arrears over 720 days, though these accounts now constitute 41% of all accounts in arrears and 90% of balances outstanding (around €2.6 billion).

There are also 22,545 buy-to-let properties in arrears, a decrease of 3.2% on December’s figures.

During the first quarter of this year, legal proceedings were issued on 828 primary dwelling house accounts. In 252 accounts, the courts granted an order for possession or sale of the property.

There were 1,658 properties in the lenders’ possession on 1 January and a total of 321 properties were taken into possession by lenders up to the end of March. The majority of these were voluntarily surrendered or abandoned. The remainder, 62, were repossessed on foot of a court order.

During the quarter 174 properties were sold on by lenders. At the end of March they had 1,802 properties that had been either repossessed, abandoned or surrendered.

More than 117,000 primary dwelling house accounts were categorised as restructured at the end of March, a reduction of 1,519 accounts compared to December.

The majority (86%) of these accounts were deemed to be meeting the terms of the arrangement and 78% of them were not in arrears at the end of the quarter.

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