Number of Britons worried about the cost of housing hits record levels

Business

About 80% of mortgage holders and renters are now worried about rising housing costs, according to a poll.

Which? said the figure was the highest in the 10-year history of its monthly Consumer Insight Tracker.

It comes as rents continue to rise and mortgage payments remain high after the Bank of England hiked interest rates 14 times in a row in a battle to bring down high inflation.

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Renters now in the majority in UK

While the Bank has indicated that interest rates increases may be nearing a peak, economists still expect it to creep up to 5.75% before they start falling again.

Which? said 79% of mortgage owners and 81% of renters described themselves as worried about housing costs in its poll of 2,000 adults, which was carried out in the month to 10 August.

The figures represent a sharp rise on the survey’s findings in recent years. In August 2021, the poll found 62% of renters were worried – and in December 2021, roughly half of mortgage holders felt the same.

Rocio Concha, a director of policy and advocacy at the consumer group, said: “Although UK inflation is slowly starting to fall, these record levels of worry about housing costs and the looming threat of higher interest rates later this month shows that for many people, the cost of living crisis is far from over.

“We’d encourage anyone who’s struggling to seek free debt advice and reach out to their mortgage provider or landlord for help.”

She added: “As so many people face financial hardship, Which? is calling on businesses in essential sectors like food, energy and telecoms providers to do more to help customers get a good deal and avoid unnecessary or unfair costs and charges during this crisis.”

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Renters now in the majority in UK

Despite the concerns, Which? said the number of people who missed a mortgage or rental payment had remained steady at an estimated 630,000 households in the month to 10 August.

The poll suggested that an estimated 2.2 million households missed or defaulted on an essential payment such as a bill or credit card payment during the same period.

The survey also found that 56% of households have made at least one adjustment to their financial habits – such as cutting back on some items or dipping into savings – to cover spending on essentials such as utility bills and groceries, down slightly from 59% during the previous month.

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