Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath has welcomed the latest reduction in mortgage arrears but has said a renewed focus has to be placed on resolving the stubbornly high number of long-term arrears cases.
Deputy McGrath was commenting on the latest quarterly mortgage arrears statistics published by the Central Bank today.
“I welcome the fact that the trend of falling levels of mortgage arrears had been continued in today’s statistics from the Central Bank, even though the number of new restructures in quarter 1 this year is at the lowest level for a quarter since end-September 2012. Several years into this crisis, it is remarkable that 65% of all family home mortgages in arrears have still not been restructured.
“With 33,000 family home mortgages in arrears of two years or more, the Government and the Central Bank need to place a greater emphasis on resolving these cases.
“This involves using more long-term restructuring arrangements, clarifying the role of split mortgages following the recent High Court decision and revamping the mortgage to rent scheme to make it genuinely fit for purpose. We have been hearing a lot from Government about some form of grand scale mortgage to rent scheme but investors seem to have gone cold as a result of Government inaction on the issue in recent months.
“Over 12,000 family home mortgages are now owned by unregulated funds according to the Central Bank statistics, leaving the mortgage holder in the invidious position of having to communicate with the fund through a third party who doesn’t have any decision making power in respect of the mortgage. It remains our view that these funds should be brought fully within the ambit of Irish regulation.
“Fianna Fáil will shortly introduce legislation in the Dáil to strengthen the hand of mortgage holders who are genuinely seeking to restructure their mortgage and put it on a sustainable footing going forward,” concluded McGrath.