6m families struggle to pay mortgage and arrears rise at B&B

19 June 2008 / by Joy Tibbs
Millions of people in the UK are struggling to keep up with mortgage payments as housing and other living costs continue to rise.

A new study from housing charity Shelter shows that six million families – almost one in four – are experiencing stress or depression because of high mortgage or rental costs. The Breaking Point report found that many are having to make serious sacrifices in order to keep a roof over their heads.

The charity revealed that two million households are struggling to meet housing costs, while 400,000 have fallen behind with rent or mortgage payments. Furthermore, 6.3 million are spending less on food, three million have sold possessions and 2.8 million have had to borrow money to pay for housing in the last year.

A significant 4.1 million households, or 16 per cent, have had to use a credit card to help meet their housing costs in the last 12 months. Shelter chief executive, Adam Sampson, said: "Our new report and campaign show just how difficult it is for ordinary people to cope with spiralling housing costs, and how desperately unaffordable housing has become.

"People are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure they pay their rent or mortgage, but the affects of stress or depression, having to sell possessions or deprive the kids of treats can be devastating to family life."

The report appeals to the Government to act, particularly with regard to its promise to build three million new homes by 2020. It also urges mortgage lenders to use repossession as a last resort and to offer homeowners more support.

Reports that mortgage arrears at buy-to-let mortgage specialist Bradford and Bingley are up should add weight to this. According to the Financial Times, its latest securitisation data shows that the number of mortgages a month in arrears has risen to 3.05 per cent in June, compared with 2.86 per cent in May.

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