Mortgage misery as monthly payments are missed

  • More than 460,000 monthly mortgage payments missed in last six months, MoneyExpert.com research shows

Mortgage customers are feeling the pain as interest rates rise, with more than 460,000 missing monthly payments in the past six months, new MoneyExpert.com research* shows.

Around 77,000 mortgage payments are being missed every month, the independent financial comparison website says. And it fears the number could be set to rise as the Bank of England continues to pile on the pressure.

The results of similar research** conducted by MoneyExpert.com in January this year revealed that homeowners were defaulting on their mortgage at a rate of around 36,000 a month throughout 2006. The company says the new figures suggest the rate of missed mortgage bills is close to doubling this year.

The Bank of England base rate has been increased by 1.25 per cent to the current 5.75 per cent since August 2006 with experts predicting that more rises could be on the way. Inevitably that has pushed up rates on tracker mortgages and standard variable rates as well as making it more expensive for people whose fixed rate deal has come to an end.

Council of Mortgage Lenders figures*** for the end of 2006 showed around 59,000 mortgages were three to six months in arrears.

Sean Gardner, Chief Executive of MoneyExpert.com, said: "Missing a mortgage payment is a real signal of distress and anyone in such dire straits needs to address the issue as soon as possible.

"We are a long way from the dark days of the late 1980s and early 1990s when more than a million lost their homes but many are feeling the strain.

"Anyone who has missed a mortgage payment should for a start be talking to their lender and letting them know what is going on.

"They should also look to cut spending and reduce debt across the board. That ought to mean sorting out their finances and getting all loans and credit cards under control.

"It can mean looking to consolidate loans and exploring secured loans against the value of their home. Many of us have considerable equity in our homes which can be used."

People aged 35 to 44 are the most likely to have missed mortgage payments – around three per cent have missed payments in the past six months.

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Notes

* YouGov interviewed 2,331 GB adults (18+) between 31st May and June 4 2007
** YouGov interviewed 2,740 GB adults (18+) between 18th – 22nd January 2007 on the subject of missed bills. The results showed 443,400 mortgage bills had been missed in 2006 – a rate of 36,950 a month.
*** CML

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