130,000 mortgage holders ‘in difficulty’

AS many as 134,000 mortgage holders could be having difficulty with mortgage repayments.

A survey of the country’s brokers also found half of their clients are cutting back on their contributions to pension and investment products with most saying it is because of the loss of a job or reduced income.

On a positive note, the Friends First brokers’ survey found just over half of brokers feel the worst of the recession is over.

However, 94% believe it is still difficult for businesses to get finance from banks and 87% said that the general public do not have enough confidence to spend money.

The survey found 17% of customers are having difficulties paying their home loans. With 793,000 mortgage holders in the country this equates to 134,810 house owners saying they are having difficulties.

The research, which was carried out among 100 brokers, found job security is the main concern among consumers with two-thirds saying they are very concerned about job losses.

The value of their house is also a concern with 46% of respondents citing it as a major concern for customers against 39% last year.

Just over one in 10 brokers have now added a debt advice service to their operation with three quarters expecting debt advice to increase as part of their services in the next year.

Head of marketing with Friends First Eamonn Twomey said: “While there are some signs that a recovery is underway, it is clear consumers are finding it very difficult to save for their futures.

“While consumers are trying to repair their personal balance sheets many are finding it difficult to do so in the face of reduced salaries.

“Against this backdrop financial planning for the future is difficult and this does present an opportunity for independent brokers.”

Brokers surveyed also said a third of their clients own investment properties which they believe is indicative of the trend in property investment in Ireland in recent years and a likely indicator of where clients saw part of their pension provision coming from.

Half of respondents blame reckless lending by banks as the main reason for over indebtedness in Ireland today, while very few see prices returning to pre-bust levels. However, over half of respondents said they believed some ownership of personal debt must be taken by individuals themselves.


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