One in four homeowners (23%), the equivalent of 2.5 million people, experienced stress during their most recent mortgage application, online mortgage broker Trussle has found.
Marking International Stress Awareness Day, the broker said the figures add fuel to the argument that the mortgage process needs to be radically improved for the wellbeing of home owners.
Trussle’s research blamed a lack of communication and transparency from brokers and lenders as the biggest causes of mortgage meltdowns.
Ishaan Malhi, chief executive and founder of Trussle, said: “Buying and owning a home is a huge milestone, yet for so many becomes stressful, simply because our complex and disconnected mortgage system hasn’t adapted to today’s lifestyles.
“Everyone knows somebody who’s had a nightmare mortgage experience and it’s therefore unsurprising that so many people shy away from the process when it comes to switching.”
Recalling their most recent mortgage application, one in seven (14%) homeowners said they rarely understood where they were in the process, while a similar proportion (13%) found the way that deals were advertised was confusing.
Another stress trigger is the amount of time required to make phone calls during the application process – a quarter (27%) of borrowers would have preferred to complete the whole process online.
A dangerous consequence of mortgage stress is that existing homeowners shy away from the process later down the line.
A recent industry report found that over two million people had been sitting on a high-interest standard variable rate deal for more than six months, which according to Trussle research, costs borrowers up to £1,621 over that period .
Borrowers commonly go for the easy option, as one in five (20%) go straight to their current provider to remortgage rather than shop around for a better deal.
The study also showed that those of first-time buyer age (30) are worst affected by the mortgage process, with one in three (33%) 25-34-year-olds suffering stress.
A quarter (25%) of borrowers in this age group find deals confusing, while almost one in three (29%) rarely understood where they were in the application process.
Unsurprisingly, given their heightened stress levels, this group is more likely (44%) to remortgage with their current lender rather than take the time to shop around and switch.
To mark Stress Awareness Week, Trussle is running a Q&A session on Twitter to help people deal with mortgage stress and address some of the problems causing it. This is running until 1pm today using the hashtag #AskTrussle.