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Hike in interest rates could 'cripple' one in four

02 September 2004
Over a quarter of mortgage holders would struggle to cope if interest rates increased by two per cent, MINTEL predicts.

The figure, which represents 4.3 million people, means over a third (36 per cent) of 25-34 year olds would be hit, many of these being first-time buyers.

Additionally, one in every 25 borrowers admits that such an interest rate rise could prove catastrophic to their financial situation.

"With five interest rate rises since November 2003 and at least one more anticipated by the end of the year, it is not surprising that certain borrowers will struggle with their repayments given further rises in interest rates," says Paul Davies, the senior finance analyst at MINTEL.

"This could lead to a rise in mortgage arrears and repossessions, both of which would clearly have a detrimental effect upon the state of confidence within the housing market as well as lenders' overall profitability levels."

Additionally, 13 per cent of mortgage holders, or some 2.1 million people, are oblivious to the effects of a two per cent interest rate rise.

"This clearly implies a certain level of naivety or ignorance among mortgage holders and may suggest that some borrowers could be unpleasantly surprised by the additional amount of money they would have to pay if rates were to rise substantially," adds Mr Davies.

Despite warnings about the current stability of the property market, according to MINTEL, one in five adults plan to buy a property in the next two years.
© DeHavilland Information Services plc