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Rising mortgage rates could push a quarter into the red

Millions of homeowners could be at risk of defaulting on their mortgage if interest rates move upwards again, according to new research from Moneyhub Decisioning.

A quarter (26%) of homeowners with a mortgage said that a further interest rate rise would mean they won’t be able to afford their mortgage payments.

In addition, a third (35%) of homeowners with a mortgage said they were concerned that they will not be able to afford their mortgage when they re-mortgage due to rising rates.

Suzanne Homewood, managing director, decisioning at Moneyhub, said: “Times are challenging for homeowners. Mortgage rates continue to rise to levels not seen since before the financial crisis and other essential costs are eroding financial buffers, leading to a complex situation and increased risk for both consumers and lenders.

“It’s clear that there needs to be more support for those remortgaging or on tracker or variable rates who will be feeling the impact of rising monthly payments. With Moneyhub’s Open Finance powered Decisioning tools, lenders will be able to better understand their customers’ financial circumstances and offer products that are based on their current and historic spending patterns and behaviours, and therefore what they can actually afford.

“In addition, whilst providers stress-test a customer’s finances at the point of sale, they are not aware if/when a customer’s circumstances change and therefore if the product is still suitable.

“With the FCA’s new Consumer Duty regulations coming in next month, it’s vital that banks and lenders can prove products that are suitable for their customer across the life cycle of the product. Holistic, timely and relevant communication to those that could be falling into financial stress via Open Finance will support better outcomes, which has to be good for everyone”

It’s estimated that 1.4 million people in the UK are set to re-mortgage in 2023 (ONS), and with 1.5 million estimated to be on standard variable rates (Refinitiv) and a further 85,000 with tracker mortgages (UK Finance), it’s clear that a number could be in the red following a further rate rise.

Young people, who often have thin credit files or poor credit scores, are particularly vulnerable to a further rate rise with close to half (44%) expressing concern about affording their mortgage if there were another rate increase.

Londoners are also particularly at risk, as 51% of homeowners with a mortgage in the capital admitted they were concerned about affording repayments should rates rise.

This research comes following predictions the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is set to raise the base rate again on Thursday (22nd June).