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One in four households in mortgage stress.

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Tanya Plibersek MP Wayne Swan MP


Alarming new census data reported today shows one in four households with a mortgage are in mortgage stress - that is, their mortgage repayments are more than 30 per cent of the entire household income.

The 2006 Census data shows that mortgage stress has skyrocketed in many parts of the country between the 2001 Census and 2006.

The data also shows that since 2001:

• the number of households in mortgage stress has more than doubled in parts of Sydney, Adelaide and some of Victoria’s outer suburbs; and that

• across the country as a whole, the number of households in mortgage stress has risen by 88 per cent.

Australia-wide, the proportion of households in mortgage stress has increased by almost 50 per cent - rising from 18.3 per cent of all households with a mortgage in 2001 to 27.2 per cent in 2006.

This alarming picture is likely to have become even worse recently, as there have been two interest rate rises since the 2006 census data was collected.

The 2006 Census data is yet more proof that John Howard has completely lost touch with the impact of rising interest rates on Australian household budgets.

Amazingly, Mr Costello only yesterday was still claiming that interest rates are low - it just shows how out of touch he has become.

The reality is that eight interest rate rises under the watch of Mr Costello and Mr Howard have put huge strain on many household budgets across Australia.

This census data comes shortly after new Reserve Bank figures showing that in aggregate


households are now losing a record 9.5 per cent of their disposable income in mortgage interest repayments.

That figure is 55 per cent above its highest point under Paul Keating of 6.1 per cent, and nearly 80 per cent higher since rates started rising in 2002.

Further recent data from the Commonwealth Bank / Housing Industry Association shows that repayments on a typical first home buyer mortgage are higher now as a proportion of household income than ever before.

For information or comment please contact Mary Wood on 0438 983 908

10 July 2007