The number of households experiencing mortgage stress and at risk of losing their home climbed by 100,000 during April.

South Australia has the second-highest number of households in mortgage stress at 41.7 per cent, followed by Western Australia (40.7 per cent).
Two in five (40.2 per cent) households in Victoria were struggling to pay their mortgage, while a third of households in NSW and Queensland were in distress.
Trouble on horizon
The risk of default also rose during April, with 95,300 households, equating to 2.7 per cent, now facing the prospect of losing their home.
Digital Finance Analytics principal Martin North, who estimates default risk based on assumptions – including the historical performance of loans in the area, overlaid with the local economy – said this was the highest level on record in the past decade.
“Running our projections forward and assuming the COVID-19 unlocking proceeds as expected, we still expect to see more than 41 per cent of households in stress by August,” he said.
“Depending on how the government support and bank repayment holidays are turned off, this could go higher still in September as unemployment is expected to remain high in the coming months.
“The official numbers will understate the true unemployment because of the government schemes where people are still attached to their employers even if idle, so are not recorded as unemployed.”
Across the segments surveyed, young growing families were the most exposed, including some recent first-time buyers.
Households living in the city fringes, often in new high-density estates, were also under mortgage pressure.
Mr North said a growing number of more affluent households were also struggling, with 3 per cent at risk of defaulting on their mortgage.
“We are seeing young and wealthy households that were highly leveraged, with multiple mortgages and investment loans, and have been hit by dividend cuts and sharemarket falls, are now at risk of not meeting their mortgage repayments,” he said.
Victoria most exposed
Victoria accounted for the most postcodes at risk of mortgage default, fuelled by the recent run in home prices and sharp rise in unemployment.
The largest pools of distressed areas were in new developments on Melbourne’s outer suburbs, such as Berwick, Werribee, Pakenham and Cranbourne.
More than 7000 households in Berwick and Harkaway were in mortgage stress, while 228 were at risk of losing their homes.
In the Werribee and Point Cook areas, 6249 households were in distress and 425 were at risk of defaulting on their mortgage.
In Sydney, 5653 households within the 2567 postcode were struggling to make mortgage repayments, while 110 households were at risk of default.
Rental stress rise
Tenants were also feeling the mounting pressure of rising unemployment on their cash flow, with the number of households in rental stress rising by 7.2 percentage points to 39.2 per cent, or 1.7 million, since the lockdown started in late March.
One in three (32.7 per cent) Sydney renters, or 384,448, were struggling to pay their rent despite the softer rental market.
In Melbourne, more than a third (36.9 per cent) of renting households, or a total of 329,374 tenants, were in distress, while 61 per cent of renters in Ballarat West are at risk of not meeting their rental payment.