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South African Home Loans Article - Mortgage defaults surge

Private Sale South African Property features an article on South African home loans titled - Mortgage defaults surge
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Mortgage defaults surge

Back to South African Home Loans Articles

An increasing number of homeowners are defaulting on home loan repayments, with an estimated 70 000 South Africans currently in mortgage arrears, latest figures from the Alliance Group shows.

Alliance Group CEO Rael Levitt says their research shows that the number of homeowners who have defaulted on monthly mortgage repayments by up to two months have increased tenfold in the 12 months to end-September 2008.

Meanwhile, the industry continues to wait for official figures on non-performing mortgage loans. The SA Reserve Bank (SARB) hasn't published figures on mortgage arrears since December 2007 and is apparently still in the process of putting a new reporting system in place.

At the time around 3% of total mortgage loans outstanding * a book currently worth around R932bn * were in arrears for more than three months. Industry players say arrears have probably edged up noticeably over the past 10 months although default levels are likely to still be below the 8% peak recorded early in 2003.

However, the level of mortgage stress is expected to increase further over the coming months as the lag effect of higher interest rates continues to exert pressure on household income.

Levitt says he doesn't share the view of some market commentators who believe that the current housing slump will be short-lived. ``The downturn is likely to last for at least another 12 months. Mortgage stress may well continue into 2010 if we don't see interest rates coming down from early next year.'

Ronel Killian, head of bond origination for Amdec Property Development, also reports a marked rise in mortgage arrears. She says people who were coping with debt repayments a year ago, can no longer meet monthly instalments as financial pressure continues to mount and push consumers into over-indebted territory.

Killian advises homeowners who can no longer afford monthly mortgage repayments to negotiate the possibility of a lower repayment plan with their bank. ``Most banks would rather collect your money more slowly than not at all.'

Killian says people who ignore their debt may well find themselves in a position where the bank is forced to repossess their homes. Says Killian: ``Once a bank starts legal steps against you, it is nearly impossible to get this reversed and it could cost you your property.'

Authored By: Joan Muller


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