REVEALED: Qld regions hardest hit by mortgage stress
Queensland is home to nine of the top 10 Australian regions for mortgage deferrals.
Embattled tourism destinations are hardest hit by mortgage stress from COVID-19, analysis by credit reporting agency Equifax reveals.
Noosa, Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta, Mudgeeraba-Tallebudgera, Broadbeach-Burleigh, Southport and the Gold Coast Hinterland were the eight regions with the highest percentage of mortgage deferrals in Australia.
Cairns was 10th, with Tullamarine in Victoria the only non-Queensland region listed.
Equifax advisory and solutions boss Kevin James said mortgage deferrals were highest where COVID-19 had hit the tourism industry hardest.
"Tourism is a major industry for Queensland, and with international and domestic visitors curtailed during the pandemic, tourist hot spots have faced reduced occupancy rates, lower incomes and higher levels of unemployment leaving mortgage holders feeling the pinch," he said. "With the Queensland border beginning to reopen to parts of NSW and South Australia … we expect to see a bounce-back as tourism dollars start to flow back into the region."
Separate analysis by Digital Finance Analytics reveals tens of thousands of Queenslanders are financially stressed, with an increasing number struggling with loan repayments.
The data shows Toowoomba is the state's most financially stressed postcode, with 9661 people reporting varying degrees of concern. Mackay followed with 5772 people while postcode 4032, covering Aspley, Boondall, Carseldine, Geebung and Zillmere in Brisbane's north, was third with 5502.
The Ipswich area had the fourth-highest rate of stress, with 4955 people struggling.
DFA principal Martin North said a quarter of those who had deferred mortgages would likely be forced to sell.
"Those are the ones who will be in some difficulty," he said. "The main pressure will come through after the summer. The autumn property season will be littered with … forced sales from financial pressure."
Mr North predicted about half of mortgage holders who had lost income would need to change their loan terms while another 25 per cent would have no problems.
"We've got quite a few battlers, those who have always struggled with their finances, and things have just got worse now," he said. "We were already seeing mortgage stress rising before the virus hit - it's just accelerated it and this is unprecedented."
Mr North said mortgage stress had risen from 32 per cent in February to a record high of 40 per cent now.