Cost of living: Homeowner reveals she is having to sell her house
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On the BBC Panorama report Cost of Living: Can’t Afford My House, reporter Richard Bilton spoke to NHS midwife Vicky. Vicky told the programme she had decided to sell her family home as her mortgage had become unaffordable. Vicky had purchased the £320,000 property in London 24 years ago, where she had raised her two children.
She had bought the property with a tracker mortgage which meant her payments rose and fell with the Bank of England’s base interest rate.
Due to interest rates rising over the course of the last year, Vicky’s mortgage rose from £300 to £850 a month.
She told the BBC: “Now the interest rates are starting to creep up again, I’m going to have to sell otherwise I’ll be paying £1,000 a month on interest.
“If it goes up anymore then I won’t be able to afford it.”
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Vicky shared the situation had placed her under immense stress and that she had suffered from sleepless nights due to the worry she felt.
She has worked for the NHS for 14 years and described her role as being a “good job”.
However, even with her hard work and her current salary, she was still struggling to afford the payments.
She added: “It’s made me really emotional, I just get emotional for no reason.
“I didn’t really want to sell it but you get to the stage where you just have to. If you have to sell, you have to sell. It’s been quite hard.”
Over the last year, the Bank of England has increased its base interest rate to try and get rapidly rising inflation under control.
Last month, the Bank of England raised its base interest rate from 2.25 percent to three percent. This was the biggest rise since 1989.
Mr Bilton said the move had put more pressure on the UK’s “creaking” housing market.
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He then noted that former Prime Minister and Chancellor Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s September Mini Budget had pushed it into “further crisis”.
Mr Bilton highlighted that this year alone, fixed-rate mortgages had risen from two percent to six percent.
In a meeting with an estate agent, Vicky was warned that the property market had “slowed down” due to the current economic climate in the UK.
However, the agent said he could see prices in the market “slip back a little” in the future.
In terms of timings and how long it would take for Vicky to sell her house, the agent told Vicky it was a “crystal ball job” and she would have to be patient.
She told the agent: “I don’t want to get to a stage where the interest rates are so high I cannot afford my mortgage and then I lose my house.”
The agent noted this was a “massive worry” for a lot of people at the present moment.
Vicky added: “I accept it now but I was annoyed at first, I would like to keep the house but I’m not in a situation where I can but I don’t really think about that.
“My life is easy here and It won’t be when I move but then I’ll adapt and I’ll make my life as easy as possible when I move.”
A BBC poll of 2,552 people conducted in October found 60 percent of respondents believed it would be difficult to pay housing costs this winter.
Commenting on the mortgage crisis, Dr. Thomas Moore from the University of Liverpool said: “It’s solely not only the people on the bottom end of the housing system but an increasing number of people who you would’ve previously regarded as being quite secure and comfortable who are now really struggling to meet their housing costs.”
A Government spokesperson said: “We must build homes in the places that people want to live and work and we remain committed to delivering 300,000 homes a year in England.
“We are supporting social renters with the cost of living by capping the amount their rent can increase – saving them £200 a month on average.
“At the same time, we will deliver a fairer deal for private renters, including empowering them to challenge unjustified rent increases. We will bring forward legislation in due course.”
BBC Panorama’s Cost of Living: I Can’t Afford My House can be watched on BBC Iplayer now.
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