The latest arrears data are out (pdf), and the rate of increase has slowed markedly at either ‘end’ of the arrears process. I think this dynamic is worth exploring.
Could this slowing of the worsening represent a sort of ‘lump’ of boom-related arrears, relatively fixed in quantum, that policy makers have to deal with? Or, are we merely seeing a slowdown before another ramping up of the arrears process?
From the release:
The figures for Q4 show a continuation of the divergent trends in early arrears and longer-term arrears. There was a quarter-on-quarter decline of 1.3 per cent in the number of early arrears cases during the fourth quarter of the year. The number of PDH mortgage accounts in arrears of less than 90 days was 49,363 at end-December, or 6.2 per cent of the total stock. However, the number of accounts in arrears of over 360 days increased by 9.1 per cent during Q4. At end-December 2012, 51,352 PDH accounts, or 6.5 per cent of the total stock, were in arrears of over 360 days. Just under half of these were in arrears of more than 720 days. The outstanding balance on these PDH accounts in arrears over 720 days was €4.8 billion at end-December, equivalent to 4.3 per cent of the total outstanding balance on all PDH mortgage accounts.