Thursday, August 6, 2015

Are there 60 home repossession orders being made every week?

Here is part of the front page of The Irish Times today.

Irish Times 06-08-2015

Our attention here is drawn to the story on the right hand side and, in particular the headline.  Are there 60 repossessions orders for homes being made each week?

Hmmm. No.  To be fair the text of the article does not say this even if the figures are presented in a slightly equivocal way.  So lets see what the figures say.  The article says that:

A total of 900 repossession orders were granted in the State’s 26 Circuit Courts between January and June

There were 26 weeks between January and June so this would seem to give a weekly average of 35.  However we are told:

The number of dwellings against which repossession orders were granted averaged 58 per week during the first quarter sittings. This rose to 62 per week in the second quarter.

The 900 repossession orders spread across the 15 weeks that the courts sat for is indeed 60 per week but the headline does not say “courts order 60 repossessions of homes each week they sit”; it just says each week.

The headline makes a reference to “homes” and quote above refers to “dwellings” but possession orders can be granted under one of three headings (with number granted by Circuit Court in first half of 2015 in brackets):

  • principal primary residences (616)
  • buy-to-let residential investment properties (126)
  • other including land, sites, farms and commercial premises (158)

If the focus is just on “dwellings” then the average number of repossession orders granted per sitting week is 50 rather than 60.  For primary homes the equivalent average is 41.

And the 616 orders for primary homes across 26 weeks gives a weekly average of 24 in the first half of 2015 or 29 if including BTLs.

The sittings in Cork get special mention for having the highest number of orders in the country:

The highest number was at Cork Circuit Court, where 123 repossession orders were granted – 91 for primary homes and 32 for buy-to-lets and others.

The figures from the Courts Service show that the there were 91 PPRs, 4 BTL and 28 non-residential properties in the 123 orders granted.

Of the 95 orders granted against residential properties 60 were in the first quarter and 35 were in the second quarter.  Of these 35 order, 30 were granted at sittings of the County Registrar (which I have attended) while five were granted by judges at full sittings of the Circuit Court (I went once – it is a circus).

Here is a summary of the six sittings that saw the 30 orders granted by the County Registrar in Cork in the second quarter.

Repossessions Hearings - Easter Term

More details of the 30 orders granted are below the fold.  It can be seen that around one-quarter of the orders are for BTL properties while around one-third are for properties that are vacant.  These two categories account for nearly 60 per cent of all orders granted in Cork.

If there is an average of 29 possession orders for dwellings being granted across the country each week then it is likely that around 17 of them are for BTL or Vacant properties.  That means we are left with “courts order 12 repossessions of homes each week”.  But that doesn’t make for a good front page headline.

Here are further details on the 30 possession orders granted by sitting:

Repossessions Granted 13-04-2015 

Repossessions Granted 15-04-2015


Repossessions Granted 20-04-2015


Repossessions Granted 11-05-2015


Repossessions Granted 18-05-2015

The only one of the 30 where a borrower was present and was hoping that an order wouldn’t be granted against them is case #4 on the 20th April.  In the two others cases where the borrowers were present in court they consented to the orders being granted.

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