Over 1.6 million mortgage payment holidays have been offered to homeowners impacted by COVID-19, according to UK Finance.
One in seven mortgages are now covered by payment holidays following steps taken by lenders to help households whose finances have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
For the average mortgage holder, the payment holiday amounts to £755 per month of suspended payments.
More than 1.2 million mortgage payment holidays were approved in the first three weeks of the scheme, and hundreds of thousands more customers have been granted payment holidays in the last fortnight by lenders helping mortgage holders affected by the coronavirus.
Over one third of all payment holidays approved so far were done so between 25 March and 1 April, as lenders worked with customers quickly after the scheme was announced to ensure homeowners impacted by Covid-19 received the support they need.
Stephen Jones, UK Finance CEO, said: “Lenders understand that many households are seeing their finances squeezed due to the coronavirus pandemic and we are working hard to help customers get through these tough times.
“The industry has acted quickly to support homeowners through this crisis and has taken decisive steps to ensure that eligible customers on payment holidays due to COVID-19 can opt for the security of fixing their monthly mortgage payments going forward.
“There is a range of support available to mortgage holders concerned about their finances. We would encourage any homeowners impacted by coronavirus to visit their lender’s website in the first instance to find out more information and how to apply.”
Robin Fieth, chief executive of the Building Societies Association (BSA), added: “The COVID-19 situation means that right now times are far from normal and many households are worried about their finances.
“Lenders are working hard to help in a range of ways and it is right that this now includes the ability for those on a three-month payment holiday to be able to switch onto a new product with their existing lender at the end of a fixed term product should the two events coincide.”
Kate Davies, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), added: “This agreement builds on the commitment made by lenders in July 2018 to contact customers who are coming to the end of a mortgage deal and discuss what alternative options might be available.
“It offers additional – and no doubt welcome – reassurance that customers will not be penalised if they have sought an approved payment holiday during this difficult period.”
Mortgage borrowers whose financial situation has been affected by COVID-19 are advised to contact their lender to discuss whether they are eligible for a mortgage payment holiday and if it is the best option for them.