Expert advice can ease mortgage stress

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) launched a new initiative yesterday (September 1) in which it hopes to assist people avoid the potential stresses of meeting mortgage repayments.

Through a number of online resources and tools, the body is offering valuable feedback to individuals and families who may be concerned about their financial position now or in the future.

It has also announced September as Mortgage Health Month to encourage Australians to do a simple check of their status via the MoneySmart website. The test will advise you of where you stand with your current mortgage and outline some general practical advice on how to deal with any issues you may be having.

While this could prove a very useful guide, you would also be well advised to discuss your specific situation and any concerns or strategies with an experienced mortgage broker. These experts can be particularly useful when weighing up whether or not to undergo mortgage refinancing – especially in the current economic climate of instability.

Interest rates have been held steady since November last year and some industry analysts have been predicting an official cut by the end of 2011 – a move that could significantly ease home loan repayment burdens on households throughout the country.

However, there has also been a slight dip in overall consumer confidence in the property market as a result of factors such as the dual crises of the European economic struggle and the US share market crash.

ASIC senior executive leader Delia Rickard says people sometimes struggle to make mortgage payments if they are also juggling other debts.

“Financial issues are often triggered by a change in circumstances such as illness, losing employment or divorce,” she said.

Rickard added that the commission’s aim was to provide education about the signs of mortgage stress and provide motivation to take preventative action.

“If there are signs you may have trouble with your mortgage, take action straight away to get back on track,” she asserted.

“If you are in danger of missing a mortgage repayment, speak to your lender about changing your repayments or your loan term.”

Among the helpful tools made available by ASIC are videos of real people telling their mortgage stories and industry guidance on the different types of mortgages.


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