0%? RE­ALLY?


Kyabram Free Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY Char­mayne Al­li­son

ZERO per cent of Kyabram’s 1141 mort­gaged house­holds are in stress at cur­rent in­ter­est rates.

That’s ac­cord­ing to the lat­est data re­leased by the ABC’s Four Cor­ners dur­ing its dis­turb­ing anal­y­sis on Aus­tralia’s po­ten­tially fa­tal at­trac­tion to real es­tate.

How­ever, Kyabram Sal­va­tion Army’s John Roberts fears th­ese statis­tics do not re­flect the re­al­i­ties in our town.

“I def­i­nitely wouldn’t say it’s zero per cent. I can think of three peo­ple just now who have come in re­cently be­cause they’re be­hind on mort­gage re­pay­ments,” he said.

“It’s not just mort­gage stress, though. If peo­ple are strug­gling with mort­gages, they’re of­ten strug­gling with a lot more. It’s a knock-on ef­fect.

“Nat­u­rally, food comes first, then mort­gage pay­ments and elec­tric­ity pay­ments. Of­ten peo­ple will throw the bill into the cor­ner and hope it will just go away.”

Mr Roberts said mort­gage stress of­ten came af­ter sud­den changes such as loss of a job, a part­ner died or walk­ing out, or an ill­ness in the fam­ily.

“We re­cently had a lady whose hus­band moved out and left her with no white goods, four chil­dren and all the pay­ments. She was just dev­as­tated,” he said.

He urged peo­ple to come to the Sal­va­tion Army sooner rather than later.

“Of­ten by the time peo­ple come to us, their sit­u­a­tion is get­ting crit­i­cal. Come to us as soon as pos­si­ble and don’t wait,” he said.

“And don’t ig­nore your bills. If you show good faith, many places will give once-off as­sis­tance.”

The statis­tics are higher in Ton­gala, with 17 per cent of the town’s 405 mort­gaged house­holds in stress.

Trevor Bassett from Wealth So­lu­tion Part­ners said mort­gage stress was a na­tion-wide threat.

“Peo­ple are pay­ing more for houses Aus­tralia-wide. While many peo­ple in Kyabram may not be see­ing that stress yet, it’s def­i­nitely a re­al­ity in ma­jor cities,” he said.

M + S Group Ac­count­ing’s Ray­mond War­ren en­cour­ages lo­cals to plan metic­u­lously be­fore be­ing sad­dled with a home loan.

And while it may sound like com­mon sense ad­vice to some, Mr War­ren has seen too many peo­ple suf­fer in cash-strapped times to skim over the sim­ple stuff.

“It is cru­cial to start with a larger de­posit, mean­ing you have bor­rowed less and have less to re­pay,” he said.

“You have to be sen­si­ble and bud­get for it, plan­ning for worst case sce­nar­ios. If in­ter­est rates do go up, you need to be able to re­pay it.

“Half the time mort­gage stress is due to mar­riage break­downs or some­one pass­ing away, or the sud­den loss of a job.

“It’s vi­tal to have in­come pro­tec­tion or loan pro­tec­tion insurance in place in case of in­ci­dents like th­ese.”

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