New Mortgage rules by FSAWith millions of people going back to the first full week of work after the Christmas and New Year break, concerns about mortgage payments now appear to be rearing their heads.

The housing charity Shelter has revealed the results of their research into this area, in conjunction with YouGov. Some 59% of those polled back in November said they were struggling to stay up to date with their housing costs. This applied to both mortgage holders and those who were renting their property.

A tough start to the New Year

The research further went on to reveal 11% of those who took part in the research were particularly concerned about whether or not they would be able to meet their mortgage payments in January. If this figure was replicated across the whole of Britain, it could mean some 3.2 million people are worrying about making their mortgage payment in the first month of the New Year. The survey questioned over 2,300 people who were either paying rent or paying a mortgage. However even this relatively small sample reveals worrying statistics at the beginning of 2015.

Clearly a major culprit for worries at this time of year is Christmas and the associated cost involved for many people. It is very easy to overspend in the run-up to the festive season. Sales, great offers and other temptations are too much to resist for some people. Some of those who took part in the research said they had cut down on expenditure over the festive period and still found it hard to make ends meet afterwards.

Failure to seek advice

In another worrying trend highlighted by the housing charity, the research also revealed a little over a quarter of those questioned (26%) would feel ashamed at seeking professional advice. In one example a lady didn’t seek advice from Shelter until she was faced with a court order that almost resulted in her losing her home.

2015 also looks set to be the year that interest rates finally start to rise. This comes after a prolonged period of super-low rates that have lulled many mortgage holders into a false sense of security. When the rises do occur they are likely to come gradually and in small doses. However they may still cause concern for many people.

Experts at the Bank of England believe that most mortgage holders would have no problem with their payments if rates were to rise by 2%. This would not happen overnight anyway; the actual rises are likely to be far more gradual. Many experts believe the next 12 months could see a rise to 1% from the current low point of 0.5%.

In any event, the cost of Christmas is now adding up for many people. As Shelter advises, anyone who does have worries about meeting payments on their mortgage or rent should seek advice as soon as possible. This can minimise any problems that may otherwise occur in this situation.

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