New figures from the Central Bank show that the number of people falling behind with mortgage repayments increased again in the final three months of 2011.

The bank said 70,911 residential mortgages, representing 9.2% of the total, were more than 90 days behind with their repayments in the three months to the end of December. This is up from 62,970, or 8.1%, at the end of September last year.

More than 53,000 of those were more than 180 days behind with repayments, and their arrears amount to more than €1 billion.

The Central Bank figures also show that another 36,797 mortgages have been renegotiated to make repayments more manageable and are being repaid in line with the revised arrangements.

The bank says just over half of all restructuring arrangements involve payment of at least the interest-only part of the mortgage.

Another 37,582 mortgage accounts which have been restructured are also in arrears in some way. This figure includes mortgages which were in arrears before restructuring, and those that have slipped back into arrears after restructuring.

This means that 107,708 mortgages were either in arrears or had been restructured, up from 99,346 at the end of September.

A total of 109 repossession orders were granted by the courts between October and December. In total, lenders too possession of 133 properties, of which 83 were voluntarily surrendered or abandoned. This represents a drop of 18% from the third quarter.