Everyone is still talking about the column from economist Morgan Kelly in the Irish Times regarding the Irish debt crisis, and the coming bankrupting of the country. As you’ll recall, one his warnings was that Ireland would soon experience a mortgage crisis, the likes of which it hadn’t seen yet.
This evening WSJ follows up on Kelly’s piece with some more stats:
A rising tide of Irish households has been falling behind on their mortgage payments. More than 36,000 borrowers, representing 4.6% of Irish mortgage loans, were at least 90 days behind on their loans as of June 30, according to Ireland’s financial regulator. That compares with 26,000, or 3.3%, nine months earlier. Data for September, due next month, is expected to show another rise but remain below the U.S. rate, which was above 9% in June.
In a foreboding sign, nearly 200,000 Irish mortgages—about one of every four outstanding home loans—is expected to be “underwater” by the end of the year, according an estimate made earlier this year by David Duffy, a research officer at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin. That means the outstanding loan balance will be greater than the underlying value of the home, increasing the odds that borrowers will default. If the house-price decline becomes even more calamitous, Mr. Duffy said in a March paper, some 350,000 homeowners could be underwater.