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Mortgage stress rises, first time in nine months

Mortgage stress rises, first time in nine months

More Australians are stressing about how they’ll keep paying for the roof over their heads, new data reveals.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed today mortgage stress lifted in the June 2020 quarter, the first time it has done so since the preceding three quarters.

About 38 per cent of people participating in the Survey of Income and Housing said they had experienced at least one indicator of financial stress, up four per cent compared to the preceding quarter.

The survey period offers insight into the economic and psychological toll the COVID-19 pandemic has had on people, David Zago said, head of household surveys at ABS.

“We can start to see the early effects of COVID-19 on the financial wellbeing of different types of households”, Mr Zago said, adding future surveys will reveal the effect of government stimulus payments.

The income and housing survey found employees experiencing at least one stressor rose from 31 to 37 per cent. During this three month period, more than 930,000 jobs were lost, where lockdowns disrupted everyday life.

About 700,000 of these jobs have since been received as of October, according to the ABS.

But at the time, about 14 per cent of employees turned to welfare organisations and four per cent borrowed money from families -- representing respective increases from 11 and 2 per cent.

Others looked for finances they had saved or on hand. About 11 per cent raided their savings, a 3 per cent rise compared to the previous quarter, while 6 per cent borrowed $1000 or more from credit cards, itself a rise of 2 per cent.

Government stimulus is expected to have helped most

The Federal government responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with its most extensive subsidies yet: JobKeeper and JobSeeker.

They’re expected to have helped the majority of people manage the economic disruption of the pandemic, but another ABS survey indicates the most vulnerable are still feeling the pinch.

The number of people struggling to repay their mortgage nearly doubled since June, according to a monthly survey conducted in October, from six to 11 per cent.

And while there is evidence the majority of people are experiencing a level of housing affordability not seen in a decade, it’s also true the number of people more than 30 days late on their mortgage repayments has increased.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.



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