The changing nature of work and working life

The experience of mortgage distress in Western Sydney 2010

Client:  RBA - Reserve Bank of Australia/ University of Western Sydney

Mortgage distress is affecting a growing number of Australian households. Distress ranges from arrears in mortgage payments to defaults, foreclosures and repossessions. In recent years, mortgage stress has had a consistently higher prevalence in certain parts of Western Sydney than in any other region across Australia. Based on 33 comprehensive survey responses, 16 detailed face-to-face interviews and extensive literature on the issue, this study is an attempt to uncover the experiences of mortgage distress in Western Sydney and of mortgage holders coping strategies. While not claiming to be a representative sample of mortgagors in distress, the report reveals much about the circumstances contributing to mortgage distress and its considerable impacts on the lives of those affected, making recommendations for future research and policy directions.