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430,000 mortgage holders admit to missing a payment: ‘Things could get worse’

More Aussies are in mortgage stress thanks to the RBA’s interest rate hikes.

A composite image of a row of terrance houses in Sydney and Australian currency to represent mortgage costs.
Mortgage holders are under increasing pressure from the RBA rate hikes. (Source: Getty)

Mortgage stress is escalating as the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) continues to lift the cash rate.

A Finder survey of 1,054 respondents – 313 of which had a mortgage – revealed one in eight (13 per cent) had missed at least one mortgage repayment in the past six months.

The research found 7 per cent of mortgage holders had missed one home loan repayment in the past six months, while a worrying 6 per cent of homeowners had missed more than one repayment. That’s the equivalent of 429,000 mortgagors missing a repayment since July.

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A small proportion of mortgage holders (2 per cent) had asked their lender for a repayment holiday or had applied for hardship.

Finder home loans expert Richard Whitten said the level of mortgage stress in Australia was worrying.

“Nine consecutive rate hikes from the RBA means an Australian with the average loan size of around $600,000 will be paying roughly $1,000 more per month compared to what they were paying in April last year,” Whitten said.

“Households are really struggling with the monthly outlay and some just can’t keep up.”

The leading cause of missing a repayment was rising interest rates (37 per cent), while one in three (33 per cent) simply forgot to pay on time.

One in four Aussies who missed a repayment in the past six months admitted it was because they had run out of money after paying other bills.

One in seven homeowners said they thought they would miss a repayment in the next six months if costs rose any further.

Whitten said, for many Australians, mortgage rates were creeping up too quickly.

“With mortgage rates shooting over 5 per cent in 2023, Aussies who had been diligently servicing their monthly repayments were finding it harder to do so,” Whitten said.

“With further rate hikes predicted – things could be about to get worse.”

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