Rising prices putting more homes at risk of repossession - committee

Tuesday 08 July 2014 18.38
Finance Committee publishes report on mortgage arrears
Finance Committee publishes report on mortgage arrears

Rising property prices could put more homes at risk of repossession than before, according to a report by the Oireachtas Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Committee.

In its report, the committee says that around 50% of properties in mortgage arrears of at least 90 days are now in positive equity - the home is worth more than the remaining debt. 

But the report cautions that the recent recovery in the housing market could now put these homes at greater threat of repossession.

Banks are less likely to offer the owners a restructuring of their debt because a voluntary sale would result in no loss for the lender. 

Having spoken with the main banks and mortgage-holders representative groups, the Finance Committee has made 47 recommendations for dealing with the mortgage arrears crisis.  

The report says that people should be allowed to continue paying their mortgage past retirement age and that families should not be pursued for outstanding debt after a home has been repossessed and sold.

It also said the Central Bank needs to define what exactly a 'sustainable' mortgage is. 

The Committee met with the chief executives of the four main banks, representatives of mortgage-holders, landlords and debt counsellors.

It set out to examine the implementation of the Central Bank's Mortgage Arrears Resolution Targets.