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More than one in 10 Aussies are struggling to pay their mortgage due to COVID, ABS study reveals


More than one in 10 Aussies with a mortgage are having problems paying it off, as COVID-19’s hidden impact is revealed.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released Monday, 11 per cent of Australians surveyed were struggling to pay down their homes during October. This is more than double the amount (five per cent) who said they were having trouble doing so in June.

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The survey, which focused on the impact of COVID-19 on Australian households, also found:

– one in seven (14 per cent) people living in a home owned with a mortgage had their mortgage repayment deferred or reduced (includes mortgages on a current dwelling or an investment property)

– one in 13 people (8 per cent) living in a rented home had their rent payment for the dwelling deferred or reduced

– one in 20 Australians (5 per cent) had a bill or rate payment deferred or reduced.

It was also revealed, four per cent of renters had difficulty paying the rent, or feared eviction during October. This was at the same level on June.

Aussies dip into super to pay mortgage

The latest ABS survey also found that of the one in eight Aussies who were dipping into their superannuation almost 25 per cent were doing so in order to pay their mortgage or rent. Another 25 per cent were doing to pay off household bills.

ABS Head of Household Surveys, Michelle Marquardt said it had become evident what the domino effect of the pandemic has been.

“Almost two in five Australians (38 per cent) reported experiencing one or more personal stressors due to COVID-19 in October compared with one in four (24 per cent) during June,” Ms Marquardt said.

“Loneliness was still the most commonly reported personal stressor due to COVID-19, with Victorians twice as likely to have felt lonely compared with other Australians (33 per cent compared with 14 per cent).”

Those revelations come after more than half of Australian tenants are struggling to afford their rent each month as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

New research found 60 per cent of tenants are either facing immediate problems in affording rent, or anticipated they would not be able to in the coming months.

The “Post pandemic landlord – renter relationships in Australia” report undertaken for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) also found financial hardship tenants were experiencing extended to not being able to pay utility bills on time, going without meals and being unable to heat their homes.

This saw half of those Australians surveyed this past winter by teams at RMIT University and the University of Adelaide ask for a reduction in rent. However, only 50 per cent of those renters who asked were granted one to their satisfaction.

Landlords who owned their investment properties outright were better placed to offer reduced rent rather, while those with mortgages felt conflicted with many wanting to avoid falling into financial hardship themselves.

However a number of industry experts have predicted there will not be a flood of mortgagee sales onto the market with the major lenders committed to helping their clients avoid losing their homes.

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