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Number of people in mortgage arrears grows

New figures from the Central Bank in Dublin show a 13 percent increase in the number of mortgages in arrears, the RTE reports.

However, the figures also show a fall in the number of legal actions taken by financial institutions to enforce outstanding mortgage debt.

In March, the number of mortgage accounts in arrears for more than 90 days was 13 percent higher than at the end of December 2009.

At the end of March, just over 4 percent of all private residential mortgage accounts in Ireland were in arrears.

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Over 32,000 of 791,000 mortgages, worth €118 billion, were in arrears for over 90 days, the majority for over 180 days.

Overall mortgage debt in the first three months of the year fell by €285 million.

However, the number of court proceedings against defaulters fell.

The Central Bank notes a drop of 4.8 percent in the number of arrears cases in which legal proceedings have been issued. There are just over 3,000 such cases.

During the first quarter of this year, 91 properties were repossessed by banks, 26 on foot of court orders and 65 by voluntary agreement of the borrowers or by abandonment.

At the end of March mortgage lenders held 456 repossessed residential properties.