Thousands of Over 70’s Battling to Pay Mortgage

Thousands of old age pensioners are living in fear of vulture funds repossessing their homes; figures supplied to me by the Central Bank and the Minister for Finance suggest. Journalist John Drennan covered the story in the Irish Daily Mail and this can be read below.


Thousands of Over 70’s Battling to Pay Mortgage

Thousands of old age pensioners are living in fear of vulture funds repossessing their homes; figures secured by Labour TD Joan Burton has revealed.

The results of a Central bank survey, commissioned after a series of requests from Ms Burton, also reveal that one in six pensioners with a mortgage is in trouble with the bank.

The figures show that there are 23,165 pensioners over the age of seventy who still have mortgages with the five main retail banks (Bank of Ireland, AIB, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB and KBC).

Significantly Ms Burton noted: ‘’2,243 of those loans in arrears, which is an arrears rate of 9%.’’

She warned that: ‘’A further 1,726 mortgages are on an interest only basis – which means that effectively 17.1% of mortgages held by those over 70 years old are not being repaid, or no capital is being repaid.’’

Ms Burton warned that: ‘’given that the people involved are over 70 years old, we must ensure they are treated with care and consideration and that there is no situation where a bank is threatening an older person with eviction from their home.’’

The figures secured by Ms Burton also reveal that 2,532 pensioners have mortgages of more than €250,000 whilst 7,824 are carrying mortgages of between €100,000 and €250,000.

The Labour TD added: ‘’There is little to no social provision for older people in this situation, so if the Banks chose to act in an aggressive manner, and older people lost their homes, it would be a social catastrophe.’’

Worryingly, she added: ‘’we do not know how many mortgages of older people are in the hands of investment funds and vulture funds and we do not know how these funds will treat older people who are in arrears’’.

It is the responsibility, she said: ‘’of the Minister for Finance and the Central Bank to ensure that older people are protected from the threat of eviction.’’

Ms Burton also said that a new generation of over seventy mortgage strugglers was on the way.

The data, she said: ‘’ shows that those in their 50s and 60s, who had mortgage problems during the Crash, are still struggling.’’

The former Tánaiste said: ‘’while there has been an assumption that older people close to, and in receipt of, the State pension are generally mortgage-free homeowners, this is no longer true.’’

Instead the data from the Central Bank reveals that 4,608 60 to 69-year olds are in mortgage arrears of 720 days whilst a further 5317 are on an interest only regime.

Ms Burton noted the data: ‘’provides food for thought concerning our current model of renting, and people taking out a mortgage later in life. They may well be left struggling to pay off their own mortgage in their later years.’’

The Government and the Central Bank, she said: ‘’need to think about these potential demographic timebombs which may put families and individuals in an extremely precarious financial position now and in the future.’’

– John Drennan,

Journalist