One in six face 'mortgage struggle'

Mortgages are now more affordable than they have been in the past 10 years, but despite this one in six homeowners are finding it tougher to keep up with their monthly repayments, research has suggested.

In December, the average homeowner spent just 15.4% of their take-home pay on mortgage repayments. This was the lowest amount since Barclays began to analyse the figures in 2002.

The record low Bank of England base rate and pay rises people have been given since interest rates first fell to 0.5% has led to the affordability, the group said after it studied the transactions from 1.3 million current accounts.

This comes despite the fact that in the past 10 years house prices have risen by 68%, while average salaries have increased by only 37%.

Unsurprisingly, given the current low level of interest rates, 13% of homeowners said they could easily afford their current mortgage repayments and were not worried about interest rate rises, while 39% said they were comfortable and could afford some increase in repayments.

A further 28% of people described themselves as being stretched, although they said they still had enough disposable income to help them cope with a rate hike.

But 16% admitted that their mortgage was now less affordable than it had been a year ago, 36% of whom said this was because their salary was now lower, while 29% said their outgoings had increased.

To find out if you can afford a mortgage, take the reins on your personal finances with Money Dashboard's budget planner.

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