Time for some common sense on mortgage arrears

Almost 5,500 mortgages are in arrears for more than 10 years. 10 years! Just think about it. The average home loan term – at least in 2019 – was 22 years. Even on the 30-year loans most first-time buyers will seek, this equates to arrears of over a third of the mortgage term.

A further 10,450 home loans are in arrears for between five and 10 years, with another 8,600-plus more than two years and less than five behind in their payments.

Together they account for close to half of all mortgage accounts in arrears for more than 90 days, according to the Central Bank. That three-month point is seen as the gap between short-term and long-term arrears, the tipping point beyond which an arrears position becomes chronic.

Arrears are clearly a serious issue for and a tremendous strain on the homeowners involved. We’ve all known people over the past decade who, through various circumstances, have found themselves behind in payments on the largest financial commitment most of them will ever have.

No one but the most reckless gets themselves into such a position lightly.

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