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Homeowner arrears ‘low’ as renters absorb pandemic shock

The share of mortgage borrowers falling behind on debt repayments has remained “relatively low” during the pandemic, but the situation is worse for renters, according to the Bank of England ‘s latest research.

Whilst the proportion of mortgage balances in arrears has continued to resist a sharp rise since the start of the pandemic, the central bank’s quarterly update on household debt highlighted a worse outlook for renters.

“The Covid crisis has had a larger impact on renters’ finances than on homeowners’ finances,” it said.

“Renters were more likely to have lost their jobs or been furloughed, relative to households with mortgages or those who own their home outright.

“Survey evidence also suggests that more renters have seen a fall in income, a pattern which persisted over the crisis.”

Such observations have prompted the central bank to warn that “pressure on renters’ finances may result in defaults and losses for lenders”.

It added: “A fall in rental payments may lead buy-to-let borrowers to sell properties quickly, amplifying house price falls in a downturn.”

The National Residential Landlords Association published research earlier this year which suggested 840,000 private renters in England and Wales could have built rent arrears since March 2020.

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Surveying 2,077 private tenants, the membership body found 7 per cent of tenants had built up arrears as a direct result of Covid. Some 18 per cent of those in arrears had rent debts of more than £1,000.

More generally, the research also showed 11 per cent of private renters – between November and December 2020 when this survey was conducted – were unemployed.

Due to the government’s “no ‘one-size fits all’ approach” to rent payments during the pandemic, it concluded that “rent levels agreed in the tenancy agreement remain legally due and tenants should discuss with their landlord if they are in difficulty”.

The Bank of England said in its latest report if “renters cut consumption to keep up with rental payments this could amplify a downturn”.

It continued: “Renters are less likely to have savings compared to mortgage borrowers and spend a significant portion of their income on housing costs.”

This dip in income across the UK’s renting demographic has had a parallel impact on landlords’ income, according to the NRLA.

Out of 1,391 landlords it spoke to at the tailend of last year, 60 per cent said they had lost rental income as a result of the pandemic. And 39 per cent of this majority said those losses were continuing to increase.

With renters and landlords having absorbed the brunt of the pandemic-induced market shock, mortgage borrowers have, in contrast, benefitted from payment deferral schemes.

Since March 2020, the schemes have allowed borrowers to temporarily freeze mortgage and unsecured loan repayments, providing a cushion against any fall in income.

“Though payment deferrals were available to borrowers with either mortgage debt or unsecured debt, they appear to have had more of an impact in supporting those with mortgages,” the Bank of England said.

It cited UK Finance figures, which suggest around one in six UK mortgages were on payment deferrals around their peak in June 2020.

“The widespread use of mortgage deferrals in particular, has helped borrowers to manage temporary changes in their income through the crisis,” the bank concluded.

By Ruby Hinchliffe

Source: FT Adviser

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Call For Government Action To Avoid Arrears Crisis

Landlords in England are being forced into a corner because tenants are not being given the financial support they need, said the National Residential Landlords’ Association this week.

Many landlords now have to make a choice between accepting no income or resorting to repossessing their property, it claimed.

A high proportion of private landlords have allowed rent free periods during the coronavirus crisis, or allowed rents to be deferred. Six in ten of these have absorbed the lost income by using personal savings. But ‘the goodwill of landlords in the face of mounting rent debts cannot continue without support from the Treasury’, warned NRLA.

Its latest survey estimated that over 800,000 people living in the private rented sector in England and Wales now have rent arrears that have been built up during since the coronavirus lockdown. Of this group, eight in ten were not in arrears prior to the start of the pandemic.

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‘To help resolve this crisis, the Government should introduce new measures to bring housing benefit support back into line with market rents’, said NRLA. ‘Government data shows that across the UK, in February 2021, 55 per cent of private rented households in receipt of Universal Credit which included housing cost support, had a gap between that and the rents they paid. The average shortfall was £100 a month. Despite this, the Chancellor froze local housing allowance rates in cash terms from April this year, a decision the Institute for Fiscal Studies branded “arbitrary and unfair” ‘.

The NRLA is calling for the Local Housing Allowance to return, at the very least, to a level that will cover the bottom 30 per cent of market rents in any given area, but preferably for it to be increased to a level that covers average rents. It also wants a Government guaranteed, interest free, hardship loan scheme to help tenants pay off rent arrears built since the lockdown began.

‘The Chancellor has clearly decided on a strategy of making landlords the scapegoats for a crisis of his own making’, claimed NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle. ‘For less than the cost of the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme he could provide landlords and tenants with the financial support they need to keep tenants in their homes and prevent damage to credit scores.

‘Landlords want to sustain tenancies wherever possible, but without the support so many tenants desperately need, the Chancellor will need to accept the tragic costs of his failure to act’.

Source: Landlord Knowledge

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Increases in mortgage arrears expected this year, says UK Finance

More home-owners are expected to fall into mortgage arrears this year as the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic continue to be felt, according to UK Finance.

The trade association, which represents the banking and finance industry, said mortgage arrears remained close to historically low levels in the first three months of 2021.

From March 2020 to the end of March 2021, lenders were offering payment holidays of up to six months to borrowers whose finances had been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 2.9 million mortgage payment deferrals were granted while the scheme was active.

With the economic impact of Covid-19 continuing to be felt, we anticipate there will be further increases in mortgage arrears during 2021

Eric Leenders, UK Finance

For borrowers who need additional support beyond the six-month payment holidays, lenders are continuing to offer tailored support.

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UK Finance’s latest figures show a small increase of 230 mortgages in arrears compared with the previous quarter, with a total of 77,640 home owner mortgages in arrears of 2.5% or more of the outstanding balance.

Within the total, there were 27,280 mortgages with significant arrears representing 10% or more of the outstanding balance. This was an increase of 620 on the previous quarter.

UK Finance said this figure has slowly increased since early 2020 but from a low base, largely driven by customers who had several missed payments before the pandemic.

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: “While there was a slight rise in total arrears in quarter one 2021 compared to the historic low levels seen before the pandemic, the additional support from lenders has helped many mortgage customers stay out of arrears.

“With the economic impact of Covid-19 continuing to be felt, we anticipate there will be further increases in mortgage arrears during 2021.

“Any customer who is concerned about their finances should contact their lender early to discuss the options and tailored support available to them.”

Only 190 home-owner mortgaged properties and 180 buy-to-let mortgaged properties were repossessed in the first quarter of 2021.

Although Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidance allowed firms to re-start litigation activity from November 2020, lenders voluntarily committed to pause repossessions in line with a “winter truce” from mid-December 2020 to mid-January 2021, UK Finance said.

It added that repossessions are expected to eventually increase due to the backlog of cases that did not take place in 2020.

These cases will have been in train before the pandemic, it said, adding that repossessions are always a “last resort”.

By Vicky Shaw

Source: Belfast Telegraph

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Increases in mortgage arrears expected this year

MORE home-owners are expected to fall into mortgage arrears this year as the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic continue to be felt, according to UK Finance.

The trade association, which represents the banking and finance industry, said mortgage arrears remained close to historically low levels in the first three months of 2021.

From March 2020 to the end of March this year, lenders were offering payment holidays of up to six months to borrowers whose finances had been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 2.9 million mortgage payment deferrals were granted while the scheme was active.

For borrowers who need additional support beyond the six-month payment holidays, lenders are continuing to offer tailored support.

UK Finance’s latest figures show a small increase of 230 mortgages in arrears compared with the previous quarter, with a total of 77,640 home owner mortgages in arrears of 2.5% or more of the outstanding balance.

To find out more about how we can assist you with your Second Charge Mortgage please click here

Within the total, there were 27,280 mortgages with significant arrears representing 10% or more of the outstanding balance. This was an increase of 620 on the previous quarter.

UK Finance said this figure has slowly increased since early 2020 but from a low base, largely driven by customers who had several missed payments before the pandemic.

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: “While there was a slight rise in total arrears in quarter one 2021 compared to the historic low levels seen before the pandemic, the additional support from lenders has helped many mortgage customers stay out of arrears.

“With the economic impact of Covid-19 continuing to be felt, we anticipate there will be further increases in mortgage arrears during 2021.

“Any customer who is concerned about their finances should contact their lender early to discuss the options and tailored support available to them.”

Only 190 home-owner mortgaged properties and 180 buy-to-let mortgaged properties were repossessed in the first quarter of 2021.

Although Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidance allowed firms to re-start litigation activity from November 2020, lenders voluntarily committed to pause repossessions in line with a “winter truce” from mid-December 2020 to mid-January 2021, UK Finance said.

It added that repossessions are expected to eventually increase due to the backlog of cases that did not take place in 2020.

These cases will have been in train before the pandemic, it said, adding that repossessions are always a “last resort”.

Source: Irish News

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