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Mortgage mayhem: 1 in 8 borrowers have missed a repayment

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A worrying number of homeowners are struggling to keep up with their mortgage repayments, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,071 respondents – 342 of whom have a mortgage – revealed 12% have missed one or more repayments over the past six months.

That's an estimated 396,000 borrowers who have fallen behind on their mortgage.

The research found 4% of mortgage holders – 132,000 households – say they have missed one repayment.

A further 8% of mortgage holders – 264,000 households – have missed more than one repayment.

The data revealed 3% have had to ask for a repayment holiday or applied for hardship from their lender.

Richard Whitten, home loans expert at Finder, said mortgage defaults were a growing concern.

"Thousands of mortgage holders have weathered rate rises but are now experiencing extreme financial strain as savings and emergency funds run dry.

"Any further hikes would push many to breaking point."

Shockingly, 1 in 3 borrowers (32%) are worried they will miss a repayment due to mortgage stress. That's over 1 million Australians at risk of delinquency.

Of those who missed a repayment, a third (33%) said they ran out of money because of other bills, while 31% said interest rates increased and they could no longer afford it.

Whitten said many Aussies are forking out a disproportionate amount of their income paying off their home loan.

"Interest rates rose so rapidly that mortgagors have reached breaking point with some unable to stay financially afloat."

Whitten encouraged homeowners to review their home loan.

"Take a look at what rates are available from other lenders and make sure you're not paying more than you need to. And have a look at what your lender is offering new customers.

"You might be able to negotiate a better deal with your current lender, or you could find a better offer somewhere else.

"Refinancing, switching to interest only or increasing the payment term are all options for stressed borrowers."

Have you missed a mortgage repayment in the past 6 months?
Yes, I've missed one repayment4%
Yes, I've missed more than one repayment8%
No, I've asked for a repayment holiday/applied for hardship3%
No, I haven't but I am worried about it32%
No, and I'm not worried about it54%
Source: Finder survey of 342 mortgage holders, April 2024

Methodology

  • Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker is a monthly recurring nationally representative survey of more than 60,000 respondents.
  • Figures in this release are based on 1,071 respondents from April 2024, 342 of whom have a mortgage.
  • The Consumer Sentiment Tracker is owned by Finder and operated by Qualtrics, an SAP company.
  • The survey has been running monthly since May 2019.

Find out if you're technically under mortgage stress and what you can do about it.

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