How to deal with mortgage stress
A FREE community forum on dealing with "mortgage stress" will be held tonight at the Lismore Neighbourhood Centre from 6.30pm.
Delivering the forum will be mortgage stress expert Kat Lane, principal solicitor at the Consumer Credit Legal Centre NSW and a longstanding advocate of law reform for people experiencing fin- ancial hardship.
Kat and her team have recently authored a handbook dealing speci- fically with mortgage stress, available free of charge at the forum.
Steve Snelgrove of the Lismore and District Financial Counselling Service said the Northern Rivers has seen a "rippling through" of the mortgage-related anxiety that emerged in the capitals. He said the problem is being exacerbated by a flattening of house prices, casualis- ation of the workforce, and higher living costs.
Mr Snelgrove said he had seen a 10% jump in people seeking advice during the past 12 months.
Many of those people were already between three and six months behind in their mortgage payments when they came to the service and some up to eight months behind.
For people experiencing mortgage stress, he has some advice.
"Don't put your head in the sand; talk to your bank. They have an obligation to assist a customer who's having trouble."
One of the mistakes people make is focusing on their credit card debt rather than their mortgage, when their mortgage is the priority.
"It's the roof over your head."
Three senior financial counsellors from the counselling service will be available tonight and hard copies of the handbook can also be downloaded from Legal Aid online.
Do you suffer fro mortgage stress? Leave a comment below or SMS 0428 264 948.