Just a day before the Bank of England announces its latest decision on interest rates, it has been warned that a rise would push many homeowners into arrears.
Thousands of homeowners in the UK have been helped by low interest rates over the last two years, but there are fears that impending increases could push some into real problems.
The Bank of England will announce its monthly decision tomorrow and while another freeze is the most likely outcome, some analysts have predicted an increase as early as May.
The Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) has said that it expects to see a marked increase in the number of homeowners who appeal for help when the measure rises.
The charity dealt with 90,000 homeowners looking for help in 2010, who owe an average of 30,160 in unsecured debt on top of their mortgages.
Research found that a 2% increase in mortgage rates would lead to a £307 rise in monthly mortgage payments for clients who are already experiencing financial difficulties.
As the average mortgage payment of a CCCS client is currently £561.61, this would be a 55% increase in monthly mortgage payments, meaning that homeowning clients would have to spend almost £3,700 more a year.
The CCCS is also concerned that struggling debtors are using credit cards to pay their mortgages. If this is the case, interest rate rises in 2011 could have an immediate impact on homeowners' ability to pay their mortgage.
"So many households are just managing to make ends meet, that even a small increase in the cost of their mortgage may push them over the edge," said Delroy Corinaldi, external affairs director for the CCCS.
"As far as possible, families need to think how they could pay such increases and seek help at the earliest opportunity if they feel that they cannot cope."
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