Arrears have hit a seven-year high due to rising interest rates and unemployment.
A growing number of British households are falling behind on loan payments, with mortgage arrears jumping by 13% in the second quarter of the year to the highest level since 2016, Bank of England data showed on Tuesday.
The value of home loans with late payments rose to £16.9 billion ($21.1 billion), up 29% on the previous year, as rising interest rates and unemployment in recent months have put pressure on household disposable incomes.
“The speed at which mortgage arrears are increasing is terrifying and should give cause to pause at the next Bank of England interest rate meeting,” Lewis Shaw, founder of Mansfield-based Shaw Financial Services, told the news agency Newspage. He warned that a “mortgage meltdown” was coming unless the regulator changes its approach.
The Bank of England has been hiking interest rates in an effort to contain rising inflation, which has worsened the cost-of-living crisis in the country. However, this makes home loans more expensive to pay back, since mortgage holders are paying higher interest.
“This is dire data, and we know that it’s about to get an awful lot worse with 1.6 million mortgage holders due to renew over the next 12 months at significantly higher rates than anyone has been used to for well over a decade,” Shaw added.
The data showed that mortgage lending was also down in the second quarter of the year, with gross advances falling by $7.8 billion to $65.3 billion. Borrowing has shrunk by almost a third in annual terms, to the lowest level since the worst of the Covid-19 collapse in lending in the second quarter of 2020.
Image credit: Nicole Rathmayr