The centre of mortgage pain
NOWHERE else in the country are homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages more than in Byford.
It tops the list — and is among six WA suburbs in the top 10 — with the highest number of people who are behind on their mortgage repayments.
The S&P Global report shows coronavirus is not the only driver behind the high mortgage arrears, with the mining downturn still largely to blame for problems in pockets of WA.
In Byford, 6.28 per cent of mortgages are in arrears. Also on the top ten list are Maddington (5.9 per cent), Blythewood (5.3 per cent), Cooloongup (4.8 per cent), Butler (4.8 per cent) and Cloverdale (4.7 per cent).
“(WA) has been home to the nation’s highest arrears for a number of years, reflecting borrowers’ increased debt-serviceability pressures since the end of the mining boom,” the report said.
“COVID-19’s economic effect is unlikely to be as negative as other parts of the country, given its good progress on containing the virus and the strong demand for iron ore.”
Chelsea Armstrong (pictured), who owns an investment property in Byford and is not in arrears, said many homes in the area were built during the mining boom when people were optimistic that property values and wages would keep increasing.
“I feel like a lot of people over-reached to be able to buy in these really nice, new areas ... (but) in 2010, it felt like everything would keep going up,” she said.
But property prices in outer suburbs have dipped and wages have stagnated or fallen.
Her own home is worth less than the $340,000 she paid for it a decade ago.
Now living at her new home in Dalyellup near Bunbury, she said she had been able to stay on top of her mortgage by renting out the Byford house.
She urged others to think carefully about using generous government building grants in some outer areas.
“When you get the grants you feel like you’ve got the money, but you don’t really realise how long the mortgages go on for,” she said.
Building broker Trent Fleskens of Strategic Property Group said the building grants would would further drive down property prices.