Six million made ill by mortgages

14 October 2003
Over six million people have claimed that their mortgage has made them ill, according to new research published today.

Research by Sainsbury's Bank found that 6.34 million said their mortgages had made them ill. Around 2.16 million people claimed that their mortgages had made them feel depressed and 4.4 million had complained that they were left feeling anxious and worried.

As well as causing illness, the research also found that 1.57 million people said that their mortgages had damaged their relationships with their partners and 794,000 said it had affected relationships with friends and family.

Over 800,000 people complained that worrying about their mortgages had resulted in them suffering problems at work.

The biggest problem for mortgage customers was borrowing too much and not being able to keep up with their repayments (19 per cent).

Other factors included general worries over repayments (12 per cent); being unable to take a break from mortgage repayments (11 per cent); fears that their endowments and other investments would not be able to pay off their mortgages (11 per cent) and being tied into really uncompetitive rates (seven per cent).

The bank argued that many of these stresses could be avoided by lenders improving the terms of their loans. Sainsbury's Bank argued that banks were not 'playing fair' as they didn't offer customers the ability to make over or under payments or do not provide payment holidays.

The report confirms the recent findings of the British Medical Association (BMA). The BMA warned that people who fall behind on their mortgage repayments can become worried about losing their homes and end up drinking or smoking too much and can be more likely to have more car crashes because they are preoccupied.