One in ten mortgages are in arrears of more than 90 days as the number of householders who get in diffculty rises, according to new figures.

Quarterly statistics from the Central Bank show also show that 170 houses were repossessed in the first quarter of 2012.

The Residential Mortgage arrears and repossessions statistics for the the first three months of 2012 show that 10.2% are over 90 days in arrears - up from 9.2% in the last quarter of 2011.

59,437 mortgage accounts are more than 180 days in arrears, which is 7.8% of the total of 764,138 private residential mortgage accounts for principal dwellings in Ireland.

The number of mortgages more than 180 days in arrears has also risen, up from 6.9% of mortgages in the last quarter of 2011.

79,712 mortgages are categorised by the central bank as being restructured at the end of March 2012, an increase of 7.2% on the number of restructured mortgages at the end of December 2011.

Just under half (38,568) of the mortgages categorised as restructured are no longer in arrears and were performing as per the restructured accounts at the end of December 2011.

The remaining restructured mortgages were in arrears of varying lengths, both less and greater than 90 days.

Most restructured mortgages (52%) are interest only.

During the last quarter banks repossessed 170 homes. 65 of these repossessions were on foot of a court order, while 105 were voluntary surrenders or abandonments. The banks now have a stock of 961 repossessed homes on their books.

The New Beginnings organisation, which works with those in mortgage difficulty said that it was concerned by the level of arrears revealed in today's figures.

Banks fully "recognise the human impact" of arrears

The Irish Banking Federation (IBF) said that it recognised fully the human impact of the mortgage arrears statistics. It noted the reduction in the first quarter of this year of the rate at which new customers going into arrears.

It says that banks have allocated up to 3,000 staff to deal with arrears allied with increased administrative support and that they are committed to working with customers in financial difficulties.

Banks are currently finalising a new loan modification and resolution strategy to assist customers over the medium to long term, and new outreach programmes to encourage earlier contact with lenders. The new measure will be rolled out during 2012.

The federation says that it's position on personal insolvency is unchanged. It says it should be done in a way that avoids unintended consequences, respects the repayment obligations of customers and minimises the impact on banks' balance sheets, capitalised to a large extent by taxpayers.

In a statement AIB that both customers who are in arrears and customers who have come forward early have already been supported with adjustments in place in more than 33,000 cases.

AIB strongly urges anybody facing difficulties in relation to their mortgage repayments to come and talk to us at the earliest possible opportunity."