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Finder’s Housing Market Report: Australian homeowners limit spending to stay afloat

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Spending has ground to a halt amid widespread mortgage stress, according to a new report by Finder.

Finder's Housing Market Report: Navigating Refinancing in 2023 – which combines lending data with a survey of 1,016 Australians who have recently refinanced or are planning to – revealed homeowners are taking drastic measures to reduce expenses, from skipping meals to cancelling holidays.

The report found almost half (45%) of respondents have cut back on eating out to deal with mortgage stress, while 1 in 3 (33%) have cut back on other non-essentials.

Shopping around for cheaper alternative products (32%), cancelling a holiday (19%) and skipping meals (9%) round out the top 5 tactics refinancers are implementing to cope with rising interest rates.

A small proportion (3%) have even moved their child to a different school to cut back on costs.

Richard Whitten, home loans expert at Finder, said many mortgage holders have been wounded by 12 interest rate rises in 17 months.

"It's a very worrying situation for millions of households and is causing a huge disruption to people's lives.

"Many Aussies are taking drastic action to avoid mortgage stress."

Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker shows 3 in 4 Australians (75%) are somewhat or extremely stressed with their current financial situation in September.

This includes 84% of mortgage holders, up from 76% in September 2021.

Finder analysis of ABS home loans data reveals a record $22.1 billion worth of mortgages were refinanced in June.

Whitten said Aussies are refinancing in droves as they struggle with serviceability.

"Refinancing can be a silver lining for homeowners in distress, and Australians are prepared to switch if it gives them more breathing room.

"Some are even refinancing to lengthen their mortgage on a similar rate to bring their monthly payments down.

"Now is the best time to shop around and find a better deal – an interest rate that might have been competitive a few years ago may no longer be the best fit today," Whitten said.

What actions, if any, have you taken to deal with your mortgage stress?
Cut back on eating out/getting delivery (e.g. Uber Eats)45%
Stopped/cut back on other non-essentials33%
Shopped around for cheaper alternative products32%
Set up a budget31%
Cut back on beauty treatments/started doing them myself23%
Cancelled a holiday19%
Compared my other regular expenses on a comparison website to find better deals12%
Skipped meals9%
Saw a professional to organise my finances5%
Moved my child to a different school to reduce school fee costs3%
Source: Finder's Housing Market Report: Navigating Refinancing in 2023 of 1,016 respondents who have refinanced or are planning to

Read the full Housing Market Report here.

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