Downturn Will Push More Mortgages into Arrears

Friday, April 1st, 2016
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The mining downturn and soft property price growth are expected to hurt Australians with a mortgage, especially in resource-reliant regions.

Moody’s Investors Service, the credit ratings agency’s research arm, expects the proportion of Australians more than 30 days behind in their mortgage repayments will edge up over the coming year, after rising slightly in 2015.

But, it will still stay at a historically low level, Moody’s says, after the “delinquency” rate rose to 1.20 per cent in the 12 months to November, compared with 1.19 per cent the previous year.

Moody’s assistant vice president Alena Chen says the country’s economic growth was well below the long-term average of 3.5 per cent, with the mining industry wind-down having a major impact on borrowers.

“The economic backdrop will prompt a slight increase in the mortgage delinquency rate in 2016,” Ms Chen said.

“What needs to be highlighted is the diverging performance between the states and the big difference we are seeing between the more diversified states compared to the ones that are more reliant on the resource sector.”

She said the resource reliant regions in WA, NT and Queensland would experience the most mortgage arrears, while better labour market and economic conditions in NSW would likely mean its level of arrears remains steady.

In 2015, a high proportion of the worst performing parts of the nation were where employment hinged on the mining industry, a sector hit hard by low commodity prices, falling investment and China’s declining demand for iron ore.

WA had the highest level of mortgage arrears in 2015 with the rate rising by a significant 0.48 percentage point over the year, Moody’s report says.

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