Third of self-employed homeowners struggling with debt

17th August 2021

A third of self-employed homeowners have increased their unsecured debts and a quarter have deferred mortgage payments to prop up their finances during the Covid-19 pandemic according to research by The Mortgage Lender.

The survey, which was carried out in March this year among 1,000 self-employed homeowners, or those who want to own their own home, revealed unsecured debts, including personal loans, credit cards, and overdrafts, have risen by an average of £2,312 over the last year.

A quarter (25 per cent) of the panel said they had taken a mortgage payment deferral, 16 per cent had taken a break of up to three months and nine per cent had deferred payments for between four and six months.

81 per cent of self-employed people in the UK kept up payments on their unsecured debt but 9 per cent missed credit card payments, 5 per cent reported an unpaid personal loan and 8 per cent failed to keep up payments on other debts.

A deterioration in their finances meant that 55 per cent felt they would not be able to borrow the amount they currently owe on their mortgage if it was based on their last year’s earnings.

The Mortgage Lender Sales and Product Director Steve Griffiths said “The last year has been hard for everyone but the self-employed feel as if they have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic increasing personal debt and deferring mortgage payments just to get by.”

“Nearly 60 per cent of the people we asked felt their experience of the pandemic was worse than an employee and the majority didn’t receive any financial support from the Government.”

“Nevertheless, there are millions of self-employed people contributing to the economy and the economic recovery. It’s vitally important there is a thriving, competitive specialist mortgage sector that is able to provide criteria and products that meet the needs of this segment of the population to prevent them from being locked out of the housing market or trapped in a home that no longer meets their needs.”

“When we launched our residential range earlier this year it was with people like the self-employed, those with complex income and credit impairment in mind.”