New figures show that by the end of June the number of mortgage accounts in arrears for more than 90 days increased by 12.7% compared to the end of March 2010.

The latest arrears and repossessions figures from the Central Bank reveal that by the end of June 36,438 mortgage accounts, or 4.6% of the total, were in arrears for more than 90 days. Of these, 24,797 (3.14%) of the total mortgage accounts were more than 180 days in arrears.

A total of €6.9 billion was owed in relation to all accounts more than 90 days in arrears, of which €4.8 billion was owed for accounts more than 180 days in arrears.

The Central Bank says that by the end of June, there were over 789,000 private residential mortgage accounts in Ireland, which were worth almost €118 billion.

It also says that in the 12 month period from July 2009 to June 2010 387 homes were repossessed.

The Central Bank said that there was little change in the number of formal demands outstanding which have been issued by mortgage lenders with the total number outstanding at nearly 5,500. In these cases, the level of arrears amounts to €84.48m on outstanding mortgages worth just over €1.16 billion.

The bank also notes a further decrease in the level of outstanding arrears cases where court proceedings have been started. There were 3,023 such cases by the end of June, a 1.75% decrease compared to the end of March. In these cases, the level of arrears amounted to €96.9m on outstanding mortgages worth a total of €672m.

In the three months from March to June, lenders applied to court to start proceedings in 170 cases, an increase of 5.59% on the first quarter of 2010.

During the three-month period, 215 enforcement orders were concluded. In 101 cases, the courts granted repossession orders which included seven dwellings that were voluntarily surrendered and 24 that were abandoned.

Enforcement proceedings were concluded in the remaining 114 cases. 85 were settled either by renegotiating the terms and/or conditions of the mortgage and the rest were concluded by voluntary surrender or on other terms.

Irish Life and Permanent chief executive Kevin Murphy said yesterday that 5.2% of its 180,000 mortgage customers were in arrears, with the biggest contributory factor being unemployment. He said the problem will get worse before the end of the year.

Repossessions still low, says IBF

The Irish Banking Federation (IBF) said that, although the overall percentage of mortgages in arrears has increased, the level of home repossessions by mainstream lenders remained low.

The IBF also said the number of repossessions during the second quarter of 2010 had fallen for the third consecutive quarter to 86.

'The latest figures from the Financial Regulator confirm that the focus of mainstream lenders remains firmly on forbearance and this is helping homeowners to manage their arrears and to stay in their homes,' said chief executive Pat Farrell.