The "unrevealed casualties" of the Irish mortgage crisis: Analysing the broader impacts of mortgage market financialisation

Richard Waldron*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Since 2008, extensive research has examined the impacts of mortgage market financialisation, particularly the socio-spatial patterns of mortgage defaults and foreclosures. However, these standard statistical indicators of mortgage difficulty only capture the 'overt casualties' of the crisis, overlooking the mass of households who meet their mortgage commitments, but do so at considerable cost to quality of life. The impacts of the crisis on these 'unrevealed casualties' has received insufficient attention within the literature. As such, this article develops a framework to assess mortgage stress levels using standard and atypical indicators of mortgage payment difficulty. This framework differentiates between the 'overt' and 'unrevealed' casualties and is applied through a case study of suburban Dublin mortgagors to examine the characteristics of these groups, determine the key factors driving their mortgage stress and assess how their attitudes towards homeownership are being reshaped. The results suggest the impact of the mortgage crisis is much larger than previously considered, affecting a more diverse range of suburban households, many of whom may be one financial or non-financial trigger event away from developing a more serious payments problem. Banks' reckless lending practices are among the strongest predictors of mortgage stress, demonstrating how the failure to adequately regulate banking practices has had detrimental financial impacts for households at the suburban scale. Attitudes toward homeownership and its investment function are increasingly negative, demonstrating how the primary rationale for homeownership expansion (i.e. its potential for wealth creation) is being revaluated by mortgaged households in the wake of the crash.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)53-66
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


    • Arrears
    • Financial crisis
    • Financialisation
    • Homeownership
    • Mortgage stress
    • Suburban households

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

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