More than 55,000 mortgages are in arrears of more than 90 days, according to new figures from the Central Bank.

This accounts for just over 7% of all private residential mortgages.

Today's figures from the Central Bank are for the three months to the end of June, and show that just over 6,000 more households were 90 days or more behind in their mortgage payments than in March.

The Central Bank also says that 70,000 mortgages had been restructured by the end of June - and more than half of these are now performing as agreed with their lenders.

Half of the restructured accounts are meeting at least interest only payments.

In April, May and June 173 properties were taken into possession by lenders - 54 of these were repossessed following Court Orders, and 119 through voluntary surrender or homes being abandoned.

There was a total of 809 repossessions in the year to June.

Minister of State for Public Service Reform Brian Hayes has said the Government is still examining its proposal to extend mortgage interest relief to people who bought their homes between 2004 and 2008.

Speaking on RTE's Drivetime, Mr Hayes said that an expert group is due to publish a report on the issue of mortgage interest relief in late September.

Chief Executive of the Irish Banking Federation Pat Farrell said it is not a surprise that the figures have increased.

However, speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Farrell said he does not expect any major increase in house repossessions.

Director General of the Free Legal Advice Centre Noeleen Blackwell has said all personal debts and not just mortgage repayments should be addressed.

Meanwhile, residential property prices fell by 12.5% in the year to July of this year, according to newly released figures from the Central Statistics Office.

This compares with an annual rate of decline of 12.9% in June.