The latest quarterly report on mortgage arrears from the Central Bank is available here. The report shows a continuation of the steady increase in the fraction of mortgages that are more than 90 days in arrears. This fraction rose from 4.6% in June to 5.1% in September, in line with the previous increases over the past year.
A total of 36,438 mortgage accounts were in arrears over 90 days in June 2010, up from 32,321 in March. This meant that 4.6 percent of mortgages were in arrears, up from 4.1 percent in March and 3.3 percent in September 2009. However, mortgages in arrears have a higher average balance (€190,000 compared to an average of €149,000 for the full sample) so the 4.6 percent of mortgages in arrears accounted for 5.9 percent of the total outstanding mortgage balance.
The arrears on the overdue loans totalled €559 million in June. Those in arrears over 180 days are, on average, behind on 10 percent of their total balance.
The financial regulator has released the latest summary data on mortgage arrears here. The data show a 13% increase in accounts more than 90 days in arrears. In total, 4.1 percent of mortgages are in arrears over 90 days, with 2.8 percent of these being over 180 days.
Balances on past due mortgages are higher on average than those not past due: The average balance for mortgages not past due is about 147,600 while the average balance for mortgages in arrears is 188,800. This means that past due mortgages account for 5.2 percent of the total balance of mortgages outstanding. Those mortgages past due over 180 days already have approximately 10 percent of the balance in arrears.
These calculations do not include people who are not in arrears because they have come to an agreement with their bank on a different repayment schedule.
These figures suggest to me that the Central Bank Prudential Capital Assessment Review’s “stress scenario” assumption of 5 percent looks more and more like a reasonable baseline. This is also the number the Morgan Kelly mentioned in his recent article as a conservative estimate.
How could this number come about? For instance, if the mortgages that need to be foreclosed on or restructured end up accounting for 10 percent of the total balance and the loss given default is 50 percent, then this would imply a five percent loss on the mortgage book. One could imagine more stressful scenarios than this.