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One in four homeowners worried they can’t afford mortgage payments

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One in four homeowners say they are worried they won’t be able to afford their mortgage payments over the coming year, a survey from RFI Global UK Mortgage Council has shown.

Meanwhile almost £100bn worth of mortgages will mature before the end of the year, with nearly a third of those coming in December, the largest monthly volume of the year, according to analysis by Accord Mortgages.

Based on Moneynerd figures, the average outstanding mortgage balance in the UK is £137,934, meaning around 750,000 homeowners will need to remortgage or face a significant hike in monthly mortgage payments when they move to their lender’s standard variable rate.

The Bank of England has already raised the base rate six times in the past 12 months and has indicated plans for another two hikes this year.

It means borrowers on variable rates will very likely see their mortgage payments rise in line with the base rate, adding yet more pressure onto household incomes.

Monthly mortgage payments will rise

Data from Moneyfacts shows the average 2-year fixed rate mortgage was 2.49% at the end of 2020. The latest data shows it is now 4.1%.

It means a borrower who took a 2-year deal which is set to expire before the end of year with £137,934 left to repay on their mortgage and who remortgaged to another 2-year fix will see monthly mortgage payments go from around £618 to £736.

Borrowers defaulting on to their lender’s standard variable rate would see repayments rise to £799 a month based on the average SVR of 4.91%.

However, many lenders charge more than this. Aaron Strutt, product director at mortgage broker Trinity Financial, said: “With the cost of living crisis, and given that there is such a huge number of mortgages coming up for renewal over the next few months, it’s even more important to ensure borrowers get the best possible deals.

“Many homeowners are worried about their mortgage repayments, and with the scale of rate rises, it’s vital to secure a new product as early as possible.”

Not a good time to buy

RFI Global UK Mortgage Council’s research showed the number of people who think now is a good time to buy a home has plummeted from 38% at the end of last year to 23% today.

One in three said it was definitely not a good time to buy. Two-thirds said their main worries were about the impact of inflation and 43% said they were anxious about further interest rate rises.

The research said that nearly all (91 per cent) were concerned about inflation and rising cost of living.

Jess Garratt, insights manager for consumer credit, deposits and payments at RFI Global, said borrowers are “clearly concerned” about interest rate rises, especially considering householder expenditure was rising in tandem.

“Households with fixed rate deals will be protected from rising interest rates for some time, but those whose deals are ending soon are in for a shock. With no clear end for the cost of living crisis, everyone is worried,” Garratt added.

The survey also showed the proportion of borrowers worried that they will not be able to make mortgage repayments over the next year has risen to one in four.