We now have five years of data on repossessions of primary dwelling houses (PDHs) from the mortgage arrears statistics published by the Financial Regulator. The figures here are taken from the quarterly releases.
In the five years since Q3 2009 there have been 991 court-ordered repossessions.
There has been a slow increase in the rate of court-ordered repossessions. The Q1-Q3 totals for the past four years are:
- 2011: 146
- 2012: 156
- 2013: 188
- 2014: 190
The trend line for court ordered repossessions shows a rise of about 2 per quarter.
There has been a notable increase in the number of PDHs that were voluntary surrendered:
- 2011: 329
- 2012: 316
- 2013: 410
- 2014: 692
Of PDHs that are repossessed 70 per cent are voluntarily surrendered and 30 per cent are on foot of a court order. There remains a lack of data on the number of forced sales where the bank does not take formal possession of the property but forces the sale in order to use the proceeds to offset the mortgage.
The second set of figures in the table below relate to the number of court proceedings for repossession issued by lenders. These jumped up considerable in Q3 2013 when the lacuna in the law known as the ‘Dunne Judgement’ was resolved.
It can be seen that around 48 per cent of concluded court proceedings result in the granting of a court order for repossessions. The other cases are concluded by other means which include the lender and the borrower reaching an agreement on a revised repayment schedule.
The number of court proceedings issued has soared in 2014. The figures for Q1-Q3 are:
- 2011: 473
- 2012: 1,089
- 2013: 2,355
- 2014: 8,882
As stated this is partly related to the Dunne Judgement but also to the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Targets (MART) set for the lenders which count court proceedings as a “sustainable solution” for long-term arrears cases. In the case of some non-cooperative borrowers this may be only option available to lenders. There are still many borrowers in arrears who have not completed a financial statement for their lender. It is likely that issuing court proceedings will see some non-cooperative borrowers begin to co-operate.
The number of repossession orders granted has increased but not yet to the same extent proceedings issued as cases work their way through the system. The Q1-Q3 figures for court orders are:
- 2011: 336
- 2012: 287
- 2013: 544
- 2014: 654
Some repossession orders are not followed through on if the parties can reach agreement after the order is granted while some are the formal conclusion to what would otherwise be a voluntary surrender except that the borrower has ceased to participate in the process.
There have been 2,784 court orders for repossession issued over the past five years and 991 court-ordered repossessions have been followed through on.
Given the scale of the mortgage crisis the number of forced repossessions remains remarkably low. It won’t stay below 1,000 for long and with the increase in court proceedings issued and the likely subsequent increase in court orders granted we will see whether this will translate into an increase in actual forced repossessions.Tweet