- Failure to come to agreement with lenders over delayed payments increases borrowers’ likelihood of losing their home
- Value of mortgage payments in arrears up 7% to £415 million in the last six months
The percentage of people in the UK behind on their mortgages who have a ‘forbearance’ agreement in place with their lenders has reached a 15-year low says Mazars, the international audit, tax and advisory firm. Just 20% of the 44,393 mortgages currently in arrears are subject to agreements like reduced payments and payment holidays*.
Paul Rouse, Partner at Mazars says the figures suggest not enough struggling borrowers are negotiating with their lenders to reschedule their debts. If those borrowers do not agree a rescheduling of their debts then it could ultimately lead to the lender repossessing the home.
The total amount of mortgage debt in arrears has increased 7% in the six months to June 30, from £388 million to £415 million.
Rising interest rates and rapidly expiring rate-switch offers have combined to severely limit homeowners’ options to remortgage at an affordable rate. This in turn could force a larger number of homeowners to resort to their lender’s forbearance policies.
Paul Rouse says: “If you’re falling behind with your mortgage payments, it’s really important to get in touch with your lender as soon as possible – which is why these figures are so worrying.”
“Lenders are obliged to consider any request for payment flexibility and either agree or come up with an offer of their own. Talking to your lender can help provide you with a payment holiday or a temporary payment reduction, which could make all the difference between losing your home and keeping it.”
In 2008/9, an average of 37.4% of borrowers behind on their mortgage repayments had an agreement in place with their lender. This means that a far larger proportion of borrowers in arrears today have no agreement in place with their lender than during the last financial crisis.
* Bank of England/FCA, year ending June 30 2022 (latest data available)