Airlie mortgages in arrears

THE downturn in the Whitsunday tourism market is hurting borrowers, with Airlie Beach rated the 12th worst postcode in Australia for mortgage delinquency.

An estimated 3.6% of Airlie Beach homebuyers and investors are 30 or more days in mortgage arrears, according to data from Fitch Ratings.

This is against a national trend, which shows delinquency has decreased considerably across Australia, dropping from 1.77% to 1.42% in the September quarter.

PRD Nationwide Whitsundays agent John Harris said there was no doubt the region's ailing tourism industry and the lingering effects of the GFC were putting pressure on Airlie Beach property owners.

Mr Harris said Airlie Beach properties that sold for $400,000 in 2007, were now worth $300,000, sending rents on a downward spiral and putting pressure on those repaying the mortgages.

He said an Airlie Beach property, which sold for $2.05million four years ago was sold by mortgagees last month for $355,000.

"There is a trend of people not being able to meet their commitments," Mr Harris said.

Mortgage Choice Mackay franchise manager Ben Phillips said there were certainly some Airlie Beach property owners that were struggling to meet mortgage repayments.

"We have clients (with Airlie Beach properties) who have struggled but they are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

Airlie Beach wasn't the only tourism destination where borrowers were struggling. Noosa Heads, Surfers Paradise and Nelson Bay (NSW) were also among the worst performing postcodes in Australia, in terms of mortgage delinquency. The Fitch Ratings report 'Australian Mortgage Delinquency by Postcode' analysed the performance of the local residential mortgage market using data covering about 17% of all mortgages in Australia - more than one million loans - at September 2011.


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