One in seven struggling to pay their mortgage


A total of one in seven Bermudian homeowners can’t afford their mortgages and have to renegotiate terms with lenders, a survey commissioned by The Royal Gazette has revealed.

And nearly half of those surveyed (49 percent) had a gloomy outlook on the prospects for economic recovery, although a quarter (25 percent) were confident in the direction that the economy was heading and more than a quarter (26 percent) said they were not sure.

A total of 14 percent of those surveyed admitted they had sought help with their mortgages after a change in financial circumstances.

And those in the 35-44 age group were most likely to have hit difficulties (21 percent) with the 55-64 age group next on 18 percent.

But those in the 45-54 age group appeared to be faring the economic crisis best with 11 percent of that sector reporting repayment problems.

The lowest reported problem rate, however, was those aged 65 or over — who are most likely to have already paid off mortgages — on eight percent.

The recession also appeared to be hitting black people and white people almost equally, with 15 percent of black respondents reporting a problem with repayments compared to 12 percent of white respondents.

The survey also found that 54 percent of those canvassed owned their own home.

White people were more likely to be homeowners (65 percent) than black people, with 49 percent home ownership. Of those who did not own a home, 51 percent were black people and 35 percent were white people.

A spokesman for the Bank of Butterfield said: “Although we do have customers who ask to renegotiate mortgages from time-to-time due to changes in their financial or personal circumstances, the incidence of such requests is significantly lower than the 14 percent indicated in the survey you cite.”

He added: “We remind customers that if they are having challenges servicing a mortgage or loan, they should contact a credit representative at the bank.

“We will work with the customer to discuss the change of circumstances, review their overall financial situation and establish mutually acceptable payment solutions.”

The economy, however, appeared to worry black people more than white people, with more than half of black people (57 percent) worried about the financial future compared to 31 percent of white people.

There were also sharp age differences when it came to confidence in the Island’s financial future — more than 60 percent of young people, those aged 18-34, were pessimistic, while only 29 percent of people aged 65 or more expressed fears.

HSBC did not respond to a request for comment last night.

n The survey was carried out by Global Research and Strategy Group, owned by Dr Leslie Steede and Nosheen Syed, with offices in Hamilton and Vancouver, Canada.

The firm interviewed a total of 408 Bermudian voters by phone between February 8-15. The survey results were weighted to be representative of the Bermuda population in terms of gender, age and education and the margin of error is plus or minus five percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

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Published Feb 28, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 28, 2014 at 9:08 am)

One in seven struggling to pay their mortgage

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