Over 1 million worried about paying mortgage

Ryan Fowler

April 30, 2020

Over 1 million homeowners are worried about paying their mortgage, according to The HomeOwners Alliance 2020 Homeowner Survey. 

It also found that a further 1.4 million are feeling the strain of lockdown and 1.8 million are not moving because of the pandemic.

The HomeOwners Alliance has now called on the government to allow home moves to go ahead as one of the first industries to open and a 12-month stamp duty holiday.

Paula Higgins, chief executive, Homeowners Alliance, said: “We all know the measures to tackle coronavirus are of the utmost importance; saving lives must be the priority.

“But after just nine days of the lockdown measures being introduced our study shows the impact on homeowners and renters alike is considerable.

“While we’ve heard from housing industry groups worried about their businesses this is the first research highlighting homeowners’ concerns.

“Our study was conducted in early April, so it is highly likely concerns around paying rent, mortgages and bills, and the impact of isolation on mental health has rocketed in the subsequent four weeks of lockdown.

“That is why we are calling on the government to ensure the housing market is one of the first sectors to be re-started, once it is safe to do so.

“The human impact and multiplier effect of getting the housing market going is clear: people can move for jobs, a growing family or to downsize.

“Mortgage lenders in turn will feel confident in lending to first-time buyers with smaller deposits. And a myriad of different jobs can be revived, from house builders, conveyancing firms, estate agents, surveyors, removals companies, architects, home improvement firms and more, all feeling the benefits.”

“However, it would be naive to think that lifting restrictions is all it would take to get people moving. The housing market is driven by confidence.

“That is why we are calling for a 12 month stamp duty holiday. This would incentivise families who can afford to move to get on and do so, giving the housing market and all the related sectors the kick start they need.

Steve Goodall, chief executive, ULS Technology, added: “The decision to re-start the home moving market must solely be based on public health concerns.

“Afterwards, we should not underestimate how tricky it will be to get the housing market functioning again as some lenders have had to cease lending while others have reduced the number of products on offer.

“Policy makers, regulators and the industry will not only need to implement measures to encourage demand – such as a reduction in stamp duty – but also support the supply-side availability of mortgage finance.”

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