Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The Ongoing Trickle of Repossessions

The latest mortgage arrears statistics from the Central Bank provide an update for the end of September (Q3) 2023. They show there continues to be a trickle of repossessions.

PDH Repossessions to Q3 2023 - AREA

During the third quarter of 2023, there were ten court-ordered repossessions and ten abandonments/voluntary surrenders of primary dwelling houses.  During 2023, court-ordered repossessions have been occurring at a rate of around one per week.

We are now also provided with a more complete breakdown of repossession activity.  The number of repossessions shown above can be broken down into those carried out by banks and non-banks. Non-banks include regulated lenders such as Pepper and Start and also unregulated loan owners.  The chart below shows a split out of the maroon area in the opening chart.

PDH Repossessions by Banks and Non Banks to Q3 2023

In the last 15 years, there has been a total of 3,400 court-ordered PDH repossessions. Of these around 70 per cent have been undertaken for banks. However, the banks stalled their execution of repossession orders in early 2020 (likely pandemic related) and there has been no increase since.  In the year to the end of September, there were 57 court-ordered repossessions and 42 (nearly 75 per cent) were carried out for non-banks.

Figures on legal proceedings suggest that the banks have pretty much ceased using legal proceedings to obtain repossessions orders.  Here is the number of accounts with legal proceedings in progress.

PDH Legal Proceedings by Banks and Non Banks to Q3 2023

In early 2016, the banks had almost 12,000 PDH mortgage accounts with legal proceedings in progress. The last figures show that this had fallen to just 1,100 by the end of September. This is 0.2 per cent (1 in 500) of the 594,000 PDH mortgage accounts held by the banks.

Some of the reduction, of course, came about as the non-performing loans were sold to non-bank entities but the fall in the overall total is very clear. And it can be seen that the level of non-banks has been stable in recent years. In Q1 2019, non-banks had 4,400 PDH accounts with ongoing legal proceedings. The latest figure for these entities is 4,300.

That is not to say there has been an improvement in the mortgage accounts held by non-banks.  The arrears on these accounts is still very high.

PDH Mortgage Accounts with Non Bank Entities Q3 2023

Of the 710,000 or so PDH mortgage accounts in the latest update, almost 115,000 (16 per cent) were held  by non-bank entities.  And of those almost a quarter (27,300) were in some form of arrears.

The arrears ranged from relatively small (less than 90 days arrears) to incredibly large (over 10 years arrears).  It is bizarre that we have to produce figures for such significant arrears.  Non-bank entities had 21,000 PDH mortgage accounts that were more than 90 days in arrears.

Included in that are 4,500 accounts that are more than ten years in arrears.  The total balance outstanding on these loans is €1.3 billion, giving an average balance of €280,000.  There have been €833 million of missed payments on these giving an average level of arrears of just under €185,000.   That is an incredible amount of missing payments.

It is worth noting again that arrears is not a good measure of current loan distress. It does not tell us when the payments were missed.  An account that had two years of missed payments a decade ago but has had every payment made since will be counted as being two years in arrears.

Also, the measurement of arrears in terms of days past due is impacted by the repayment required.  If an account has had €6,000 of historical missed payments and the required monthly payment is €1,000 then that account will be 180 days (six months) in arrears.  If the required monthly payment rises to €1,200 – due to. say, interest rate increases – and there is no new arrears, then the €6,000 of historical arrears becomes the equivalent of 150 days (five months) of arrears. 

This measurement issue won’t impact a count of the total number of accounts in arrears.  There has been no rise in the total number of accounts in arrears.

PDH Mortgage Accounts in Arrears Q3 2023

As shown above, there remains around 29,000 PDH mortgage accounts which are more than 90 days in arrears.  Of these 21,000 are held by non-bank entities.  The banks have 8,000 such accounts but this represents just 1.3 per cent of the total PDH mortgages they hold (594,000).  The banks do not have a problem with a long-term mortgage arrears.

In some cases this will have occurred with the borrower getting back in track either with or without a cure or modification. In other cases it is because the banks have simply sold the loans.  There were plenty of claims that these sales would lead to a surge in repossessions. All we have seen so far is a trickle.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

No Surprise in November CT Receipts

When the June figures were published the €4.2 billion of Corporation Tax collected in the month pointed to receipts of around €6 billion in November.  The year-on-year declines for August, September and October were attributed to largely idiosyncratic volatility in such a concentrated source of tax revenue. 

And so it proved, with the monthly receipts for November coming in broadly in line with expectations at €6.3 billion or five percent above the crude projection based on the June figure.  With November being the most important month of the year for Corporation Tax, November 2023 was a record month, surpassing the €5.0 billion collected in the same month last year.

November CT

In year-to-date terms, November was enough to push 2023 back up above the equivalent total for 2022.  The difference looks small on the chart but the €22 billion collected so far in 2023 is almost €1 billion higher than what was collected in the same period last year.  The difference to 2014 is staggering.

CT Cumulative

The recent volatility in the receipts can be seen with the 12-month sum.  If December 2023 just matches what was collected last December then the total for the year will be €23.5 billion, up on the €22.6 billion from last year.

CT 12 Month Sum

The volatility is highlighted in the annual changes from the above chart.  This shows some extraordinary changes. 

CT 12 Month Sum Change

Towards the end of 2022, CT was growing at an annual rate of over 60 per cent – exhilarating but unsustainable. This growth plummeted during 2023 and approached zero in October. The November numbers mean that the annual change in the 12-month sum rebounded a little and rose to 2.8 per cent – and such is the scale of these receipts now that even such a small relative increase is a pretty significant sum.

It is hard to say if the December returns will garner much attention, and as a standalone month there is no discernible pattern.  2022 was a boom year for CT but December 2022 was actually lower than December 2021 – that volatility thing again.

December CT

Corporation Tax is a highly volatile source of revenue. While there can be some information in the monthly changes there is also an awful lot of noise.  Here the year-on-year comparisons of monthly CT receipts since January 2016 – and note that the chart excludes some of the volatility as the vertical axis is cut off at +100.  The final point shown is November 2023 which was was 27 per higher than November 2022.  Missing values are used when the calculation of the annual change involved a negative number (three instances since 2016: January 2019, April 2019 and April 2021).

CT YonY by Month

Monthly figures that are lower than the same month of the previous year are not uncommon, though some occur in months that are not important from a CT perspective. Around one-third of months in the chart above have negative values – and this was a period when aggregate CT revenues grew at an extraordinary rate.

Four of the six months from December 2022 to May 2023 were negative in year-on-year terms.  The run of three negative figures in a row that was seen from August to October this year was a bit unusual – we have to go back to early 2021 to see such a run, when the pandemic would have had an impact, and the only other instance shown of three negative values in a row was in early 2017. 

The proximity of the recent three-month negative run to the key month of November also likely contributed to the focus. Those negative outturns will also have been seen as an opportunity to try and dampen expectations. Who knows what December will bring. Probably more volatility but structural shifts remain absent for now.