Interest rate rise would leave ‘more than half’ struggling to pay mortgage

More than half of borrowers have said they would either struggle or fall behind with mortgage repayments if interest rates rise.

The findings have emerged after the publication of a report by the Building Societies Association, which also said one in ten would experience “real financial problems”.

One in four said they would experience difficulty “from time to time”.

Almost one in five said a rate rise would mean they would be forced to cut down on essentials, including food and clothing, in order to meet their monthly repayments, while 15% said they would have to work more hours to keep on top of their mortgages.

Only just under one in five (22%) said they would need to make no changes to their lifestyle in order to meet their repayment commitments.

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the Building Societies Association, said: “Concern from borrowers is natural when it comes to interest rate rises.

“There are at least 1.85 million homeowners that have never experienced a rate rise, we have had a record low base rate for so long, it is unsurprising that some people are concerned that a rise in rates will affect their lifestyles and ability to make mortgage repayments.

“Clearly some of the actions borrowers say they would take may not be within their control, for example working additional hours.

“Our advice to those concerned about interest rate rises is to start thinking about how they will manage the increased costs.

“This could include creating a household budget, to taking a look at mortgage calculators and rescheduling unsecured loans such as credit cards. Free money advice is available for those that are concerned.

“The good news is that the results of our survey show nearly a quarter (22%) of borrowers will not have to make any changes to their lifestyle when interest rates rise. With the economy more stable than it has been for years, this is a positive result.

“That said, with inflation near zero and the Monetary Policy Committee voting by a majority of eight to one to maintain the bank rate at 0.5%, it is looking unlikely that things will change before well into 2016.”

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline, added: “After years of low rates, borrowers’ minds are beginning to focus on the prospect of higher interest rates, and what this will mean for their finances.

“Nevertheless, many mortgage payers are still in for a big financial shock when rates do start to climb – and we remain concerned that many will fall into problem debt as a result.

“We must not forget that renters, too, are likely to be affected as extra mortgage costs are passed on by landlords.

“Households now have a window of opportunity to re-assess their budgets, look again at their borrowing and think about how they will cope with higher interest rates.

“It is crucial they take advantage of this and prepare themselves now.

“Anyone who is concerned should speak to their lender and seek free debt advice from a charity-run service such as National Debtline as soon as possible.”


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One Comment

  1. mat109


    Comments like this annoy me.

    “We must not forget that renters, too, are likely to be affected as extra mortgage costs are passed on by landlords.”

    Did landlords decrease their rents when rates fell? I doubt it. If you want to avoid political pressure for rent controls, saying that all landlords will simultaneously put their rents up is a good way to go about it. Not all landlords have the same costs, and many properties aren’t highly leveraged.

    Rents are set by the market, not landlord’s costs.


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