Record numbers of home owners approaching Mortgage stress

Published: 09 May 2017

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When it comes to paying off the Mortgage, it’s a slippery slope that could see the entire house of cards come tumbling down.

New figures released by the Australian National University have found that one in five Aussies are constantly struggling to pay their mortgage, while others have admitted to falling behind.

The results showed that almost one in every four mortgage holders would face difficulty keeping up with their repayments if interest rates increased by two percentage points.

It’s an ugly picture to paint, with one of four households nationwide in mortgage stress, Digital Finance Analytics principal Martin North said the risk of default was rising, especially in areas where underemployment and unemployment were also rising.

“Mortgage stress continues to rise as households experience rising living costs, higher mortgage rates and flat incomes,” Mr North said.

“Expected future mortgage rate rises will add further pressure on households.”

Tuesday’s Federal budget is predicted to contain housing affordability measures, but the ANU poll found 68 percent of those not in the housing market are concerned they will never be able to afford a home.

It’s a stark contrast; 75 percent of those surveyed believe owning a home is part of the Australian way of life, yet 87 percent are concerned future generations won’t be able to afford to buy a house.

Associate Professor Ben Phillips said the survey showed support for an increase in the supply of housing and public housing.

“The ANU poll also found almost half of homeowners would be willing to see their property stop growing in value to improve housing affordability while only 31.8 percent would not.

“This may suggest that the issue of housing affordability is acute enough that Australians may accept policy change that could reduce prices or the rate of price growth to allow more equitable access to the housing market,” he said.