The Australian mortgage monster

The combination of the highest relative property values in the world with the highest official interest rates naturally produce high home loan repayments.

Just how high and how painful is now becoming more than obvious. Anecdotal reports of rising repossessions and a huge increase in forced sales are now spreading from so-called blue collar suburbs to properties in the $1 million to $5 million valuation range.

Mortgage stress is spreading across all cities, suburbs and demographics.

Overgeared families are obviously the most vulnerable but wealthier Australians are now being caught as they liquidate assets to meet margin calls on highly leveraged share portfolios caught in the equities downturn.

The latest research from Fujitsu Consulting claims more than 900,000 Australians will suffer mortgage stress by September, 400,000 of those will be in severe stress and 80,000 could lose their flats because they can't meet the loan repayments.

Severe stress is defined as being unable to meet repayments without refinancing, with many having to put repayments on their credit card.

They are sobering figures. Yet probably the scariest finding from the Fujitsu report is that once someone is in severe stress there is a 20 per cent chance of being forced to sell the property and there is only a 50 per cent chance of getting out of mortgage stress altogether.


26.8.08 11:55

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