DUBLIN, Sept 2 (Reuters) - The number of Irish homes in mortgages arrears for more than 90 days fell for the third successive quarter in the three months through June but the number of homeowners behind in payments for more than two years rose further.
The spectacular property crash that forced Ireland into an international bailout has left around one in five home loans, worth 23 billion euros, in distress with a further 11 billion euros of investment property loans also not being fully repaid.
The proportion of residential mortgages in arrears for more than 90 days was 11.8 percent at the end of the quarter, down from 12.2 percent in the previous three months, central bank data showed on Tuesday.
Early arrears also declined in the three months to end-June and have now fallen quarter-on-quarter for almost two years, with 4.7 percent of accounts behind in payments compared to 6.3 percent in September 2012.
However the numbers in arrears over 720 days increased by 5 percent, representing over a third of the 90,343 customers in distress for more than 90 days. The proportion of buy-to-let arrears over 90 days edged up to 22 percent from 21.5 percent.
Ireland's domestic banks, which have been set targets by the central bank to put in place sustainable solutions for customers struggling to pay their mortgages, all reported declines in arrears in the first half of the year as the country's two main lenders returned to profit. (Reporting by Conor Humphries and Padraic Halpin; Editing by Susan Fenton)