Home owners are paying more on their monthly mortgage repayments than at any time since the property crash in 1992, according to official figures.
The figures come as increasing evidence emerges that the property market is heading for a sharp slow-down, as mortgage rates increase and people find it increasingly difficult to get on the housing ladder.
Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said: “All the data is showing a broad pattern — the market is quite stretched by any valuation yardstick.”
The average household who took out a mortgage in August is having to use 18·2 per cent of its pre-tax income to pay the interest on a mortgage, up from 17·9 per cent in July and the highest level for 15 years, according to the figures published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
But Ed Stansfield, a property economist, warned that most people are spending a great deal more on their mortgages than these statistics suggest.
“The CML figures markedly understate the real position people find themselves in,” Mr Stansfield said.
“They only take into account the interest payments; and for most people the repayment part of the mortgage adds a fair old chunk to their monthly payments.”
Seven out of 10 homes repossessed in recent months were owned by people who bought them with the help of so-called “sub-prime” mortgages – designed for buyers with bad credit records.
Research shows that sub-prime mortgage lenders are responsible for more than 70 per cent of 7,000 homes repossessed in the last three months.
There are no official figures for how large the sub-prime market is in the UK, but property experts estimate these loans account for less than 10 per cent of the total number of outstanding mortgages.
However, they have increased in popularity in recent years as people, finding it increasingly difficult to get on the housing ladder, are prepared to take high-cost loans to buy their own homes.
Sub-prime lenders tend to charge far higher interest rates because of the home owners’ higher risk of default.