Irish Home Loans Arrears Advance to 8.1% as House Prices Fall

Irish home loans in arrears for more than 90 days rose to 8.1 percent at the end of September as home owners struggle to repay debt following the collapse of the economy’s property boom.

A total of 62,970 loans were in arrears for the period compared with 55,763 residential mortgages at the end of June, according to a statement from the Irish central bank today. That compares with 7.2 percent in June.

Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore said in parliament yesterday that the government will unveil a plan in the “near future” to help struggling mortgage holders. The government, which has ruled out blanket mortgage relief for borrowers, is pressuring banks to work with borrowers as house prices fall and unemployment remains above 14 percent.

The Dublin-based bank said 69,735 home loans have been categorized as restructured at the end of September. Some 99,346 residential mortgages are in arrears of more than 90 days or have been restructured, accounting for 12.8 percent of private residential mortgages.

House prices are down 49 percent in Dublin since their peak in 2007, the Central Statistic Office said Oct. 25. Residential property prices nationwide have fallen 14.3 percent this year to September, the CSO said.

Ireland sought an international bailout in November 2010 when its banking crisis became too big to handle alone. The state has injected about 62 billion euros into its banks as unemployment has tripled since a property collapse in 2008.

In half of restructured loans, only the interest portion of the payments is being met, according to the bank. Repossession of properties during the quarter totaled 162 on a voluntary basis or with a court order.

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