Over a Million Borrowers Facing Rate Hike

By: Markie Shephard

Around 1.4 million borrowers are likely to face higher Mortgage costs in 2008 when their fixed-rate mortgages come to an end, according to the Financial Services Authority.

Supported by members of all sides of the House of Commons, the Money Advice Trust charity has been working with the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) to publish advice for these borrowers.

The Money Advice Trust's chief executive Joanna Elson said: "The idea behind the initiative is to give free early advice to these borrowers coming off their fixed-rate deals and highlight key sources of independent and free confidential advice, such as adviceUK members, Citizens Advice Bureaux, Business Debtline, National Debtline and the Consumer Credit Counselling Service.

"We have already seen a 16% increase between 2007 and 2008 in clients contacting National Debtline for advice regarding mortgage and secured loan arrears and we fear that people really are starting to struggle with their mortgage payments as credit becomes more expensive to service.

"Our experience suggests that if you do get into difficulty, seeking free independent advice as soon as possible is the best option to help you sort out your problems. There is always something that can be done and the earlier you seek advice the more options you will have."

Michael Coogan, CML director general, said: "A large number of borrowers are likely to see their mortgage costs rise when their fixed-rate deals expire this year. We may be past the peak of the 'payment shock' this will produce, but market conditions remain uncertain and borrowing costs are continuing to rise.

"Borrowers need to plan ahead for higher monthly payments and look carefully at the options available to them. Anyone who thinks they might have a problem in paying their mortgage should talk to their lender as soon as possible. The earlier the borrower makes the lender aware of any potential payment problem, the wider the range of options for dealing with it."

Use our mortgage calculators to work out what you can afford.

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