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May Day marks a mortgage emergency for borrowers

Posted by hannah on 02/05/2012

House on see-saw, not knowing what is going to happenThe next few weeks may be make or break time for homeowners struggling with debt.

May 2012 marks the month where mortgage lenders offer less forbearance - the amount of slack they cut for borrowers who can’t keep up with their payments.

Almost a million Halifax borrowers will see their home loans increase by up to £55 a month and other lenders have indicated they will follow the leader in the coming months.

The list includes The Co-Operative Bank, Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and the Bank of Ireland.

The Halifax standard mortgage rate has gone up 0.49%.

With inflation at 3.5% and increasing mortgage costs, hard-pressed families will have to find around £1,000 over the next 12 months just to match the rising cost of living.

Worringly, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the trade body for banks and building societies, says home repossessions are expected to rise by 22%.

The rise in mortgage rates marks a crucial point in the country’s economic cycle.

For the first time, banks and building societies have separated their own lending rates from the Bank of England base rate, which has sat at a record low of 0.5% for 38 months.

Until now, lenders have always offered rates at the Bank of England rate plus a margin. From now on, lending rates are at the institution's own rate plus a margin.

The CML says this is in response to the rising cost of borrowing faced by lenders on the wholesale money markets, which are affected by the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis.

Consumer champion Which? Reckons 75% of mortgage payers would be affected if their repayments rose by £50 a month, while 41% would need to cut back on regular spending and 11% would not have enough cash left for essentials.

The study also suggested that a monthly increase in repayments of £100 would put 11% at risk of having their home repossessed.

Borrowers should remember the government sits on the boards of many of the banks raising their rates - as the public has a 39% stake in Lloyds Banking Group, which owns Halifax, and an 82% share in the Royal Bank of Scotland which owns NatWest.

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Notes to editors:

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