In 2016 over a quarter of Cypriots, 26.6 per cent, were in arrears with their mortgage, rent or other obligations, such as utility bills or hire purchase payments, compared with 10.4 per cent across the EU on average, Eurostat revealed on Tuesday.
In terms of mortgage alone, excluding hire-purchase and utility bills, 8.6 per cent of Cypriots were behind in their mortgage or rental payments, coming in second after Greece at 15.3 per cent, the highest in the bloc. The next highest proportion was recorded in Spain and France (both 5.2 per cent), Hungary (5.1 per cent), Finland (4.9 per cent) and Italy (4.2 per cent). The EU average on mortgages and rental arrears was 3.5 per cent.
Compared with 2008 in Cyprus that number more than doubled in the same period from 3.4 per cent to 8.6 per cent.
Overall in 2016, one in ten people in the EU had outstanding debts and delayed payments.
People living in households with dependent children were twice as likely to face this situation as those without dependent children.
Almost half (47.9 per cent) the population in Greece were in arrears with mortgage, rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments in 2016. Around one third of the population in Bulgaria (34.2 per cent), in Cyprus (26.6 per cent), and Croatia (26.4 per cent) were also in arrears of this type.
At the opposite end of the scale, half (14 out of 28) of member states recorded that less than 10 per cent of their population were in arrears with mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments. The smallest proportions were 5.0 per cent in the Netherlands, 4.4 per cent in the Czech Republic and 4.2 per cent in Germany.
On the other hand, the percentage of the population in arrears was below 2 per cent in seven EU Member States: Estonia (1.8 per cent), Germany (1.6 per cent), Ireland and Lithuania (both 1.4 per cent), Croatia and Poland (both 1.3 per cent) and Romania (0.9 per cent).
However, these low levels may be partially related to the small percentage of the population who had a mortgage or were renting at market prices, indicating that they had either already paid their mortgage or were not paying rent at market prices.