Banks bid to repossess 80 Galway Houses – Galway City Tribune, 28/02/2014

Floodgates are set to open as banks pursue mortgage defaulters

The floodgates have opened on repossessions of homes in Galway – with more than 80 cases brought before the courts this week.

There are so many cases that there will now be special hearings in Galway every second month, or more frequently if required.

A leading financial consultant has described the figures as “shocking”, and that they would relate to “hopeless cases”.

Eight mortgage lenders appeared before the County Galway Registrar’s Court this week seeking repossession orders on a total of 83 properties.

Two applications were granted – on investment properties with arrears of €82,000 and €15,000 – while the rest were adjourned after County Registrar Marian Chambers Higgins sought clarification on whether they are investment properties or family homes, as the information is required for Government statistics.

Financial Consultant David McCarthy of McCarthy & Associates told the Galway City Tribune: “You can be assured these are hopeless cases.  The borrowers would probably have entered a protracted process of discussions with the lender to find a solution.

“They may be rid of the property after repossession, but the negative equity doesn’t just disappear – people will be infected by debt and have the choice of remaining infected by that debt or going down the Personal Insolvency route.

“Eighty properties is a shocking figure, but the devil is in the detail.  What could be skewing the figures are people with multiple properties and the lender moving to repossess the portfolio.  “But at the same time, the number is small in relation to the number of people who are actually in arrears on property loans,” said Mr. McCarthy.

“It is crucial for mortgage holders who are in trouble to talk to their lender”.  “Engage with your lender.  At the end of the day, you may have no choice and will face repossession, but you need to sit down and see if something can be worked out”.  “If the property is in the city and has a reasonable chance of seeing growth (in value), in certain circumstances, you may be able to row in with the lender.  It depends on negative equity and the arrears” said Mr. McCarthy.