Almost 31% of Australian mortgages are in arrears, with 18% in arrears by 30 days or more, 8% 60 days or more and 5% considered seriously delinquent, according to a survey from Finder.
The survey of 446 home loan customers meant that it potentially equated to 899,000 home loans were behind on repayment.
However, the remaining 69% of home loan customers said they were up to date with their mortgage repayments.
South Australia has the greatest number of mortgages in arrears (41%), followed by Queensland, where over a third of mortgages (36%) were behind on payments.
Men were much more likely to be behind on their mortgage repayments than women; 80% of female homeowners were up to date with their repayments, compared to just 59% of men.
Sarah Megginson, home loans expert at Finder, said that while virus cases were dwindling, the effects of the pandemic were still being felt.
“COVID-19 put a lot of households in a precarious financial position; some people are still without work or underemployed and aren't earning enough to cover their monthly living expenses – including their mortgage,” Megginson said.
“Many people are also concerned about what will happen to their finances once the JobKeeper subsidy is wound back at the end of the month.
“With some homeowners now only a few missed mortgage payments away from potentially having their homes repossessed, this is no doubt a scary time.”
Megginson said struggling mortgage customers should contact their lender as soon as possible.
“If you’re falling behind on your repayments, don’t put your head in the sand. The earlier you get help, the more options you’ll have,” Megginson said.
“Contact your bank or lender and talk through your financial hardship options – all home loan providers have customer support teams ready and waiting to help.
“You might be able to switch to interest-only payments for a set period of time or defer your loan for a number of months while you catch up.
“Taking that first step can be intimidating, but you’re much better off facing the issue head-on initially, rather than letting it unravel any further.