Many of us have heard of Shelter, the homelessness charity that focuses on helping people who are homeless or in a position where they are on the verge of losing their homes. They have recently instigated an investigation that revealed the alarming financial state many homeowners are in across the UK today.
According to their investigation, nearly half of the people they questioned were just one month away from failing to meet their mortgage payment. The survey questioned 7,500 people. Some of them were homeowners while others rented their homes. 44% of the total questioned would only be able to meet their financial obligations for a single month if they were to lose their jobs.
Little to no savings
While it is recommended that we have a minimum of 3 months’ worth of income saved up in the event that we lose our jobs, it is clear that millions of people do not have this safety cushion.
The Shelter research reveals that millions of people may be unable to meet their monthly mortgage payments within a single month of losing their jobs. Furthermore the research shows that nearly a third of those questioned would hit financial trouble in far less than one month. These people have no savings at all to speak of and no financial cushion to rely on.
“Sky high housing costs”
One of the helpline advisers working for Shelter, Liz Clare, cited “sky high housing costs” as one of the reasons why people are struggling. The research has been bolstered by official figures from the government. These state that 15 million people in the UK that work for a living do not have access to any savings pot at all. With the jobs market still proving a challenge for many people, and wages struggling to rise by any significant amount, it is clear this is not a situation that will abate anytime soon.
Is the housing market partly to blame?
New rules coming into force mean people’s finances will be scrutinised in more detail before they are granted a mortgage. This should help ensure fewer people default in the future after taking on bigger mortgages than they can afford to pay back comfortably.
However it does not help the millions of people who already have mortgages and no stash of savings to help them stave off the threat of repossession if they should fall behind on their payments.
The housing market is said to be heating up again. There are lots of people looking for properties and not enough homes to meet demand. This naturally pushes up prices and leads to the ever present threat of a housing bubble becoming more likely.
Clearly the housing market – and the economy as a whole – is not yet anywhere near as stable as it could be. With so many people on the verge of losing their homes, far faster than they may believe was possible, this is a worrying time.