UK mortgage worries fade as owners benefit from low rates

UK HOUSEHOLDS are feeling less burdened by their mortgages in the aftermath of the recession, according to an official report released yesterday.

The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) study of property debt showed that 15.2 per cent of households considered their property debt to be a heavy burden in 2006-08, while only 13.6 per cent did in 2008-10, despite higher unemployment and wage increases below inflation.

The report also showed that Londoners are less likely to own their homes outright than people from any other UK region, and have the highest average property debt in the country.

However, London also saw the biggest decrease in the number of people considering their property debt to be a heavy burden, in comparison to struggling regions like Wales and the north east of England, where more homeowners now feel burdened by their debts.

While the average household’s property debt rose from £70,000 to £75,000 over the period, low interest rates gave an unexpected boost to households with tracker mortgages since 2008. The Bank of England’s prolonged decision to keep the bank rate at 0.5 per cent has meant lower interest repayments for many homeowners.

According to the ONS, lone parent households were most likely to consider their property debt to be a heavy burden, while married couples without children were least likely to be concerned.