Latest Quarterly Mortgage Arrears data show 9.2% of Mortgage Accounts in Arrears of over 90 days, up from 8.1% at the end of September 2011
The Central Bank published a report on the last quarter of 2011 which showed that 1 in 7 mortgages were in arrears. That means that over 70,000 mortgages were in arrears of 90 days or over, and that number is up 42% since March 2010.
This may only be the tip of the iceberg for vulnerable households. If you look at mortgages in arrears of 60 days or more, 1 in 5 mortgages owners are behind in their payments, and if you look beyond that, there are now estimated to be approximately 400,000 people behind with their utility payments.
There are about 1.6m households in the State, so that puts 25% of homes in some sort of financial difficulty.
There has been a lot written in the last couple of months about the ‘Squeezed Middle Class’ in our society and this is the group that is more likely to fall into the red. The most vulnerable are most likely to be in their 30’s and early 40’s, with young families, many still have jobs but are trying to get by on incomes that have been cut by 20% or more.
This ‘New Poor’ group tend not to know what they might be entitled to, how to go about seeking State support, and if they do look for help will typically find that their employment, their income and their assets put them over thresholds for any benefits or allowances.
Today, unfortunately, many of these people are focused on their more basic needs, and brands that can offer them a safety net at any level from value for money, meeting a real consumer needs, or providing them with those moments of self-actualisation that were once more common are likely to be the ones to succeed.
Figures on arrears and repossessions were first published by the Central Bank for the quarter ending September 2009. Restructures data were first published for the quarter ending December 2010. All figures are available at www.centralbank.ie