The number of homeowners seeking advice about paying their mortgage has soared at a rate which should “set alarm bells ringing”, a charity has warned
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said demand for online advice for mortgage issues has climbed by 277% compared to last year, and the growing cost-of-living crisis has seen visits to its page explaining how to get help paying energy bills shoot up by 748%.
Stephanie Millar, CAS’s social justice spokesperson, said the “year on year increase in demand for online advice in key cost-of-living areas should set alarm bells ringing”.
The figures, between August 2021 and the same month the following year, also saw the number of hits to the “get help with bills” page went up by 366%.
“Huge increases in views around getting help with bills are of concern, but the spikes in energy advice and mortgage issues are of particular worry,” she said.
“That is because this data covers August – so to see such high demand for energy advice before the weather turns cold shows the extent of this crisis.
“Meanwhile the huge growth in concerns around mortgage payments predates the most recent increase in interest rates, and comes before a potential further increase.”
The average two-year fixed-rate mortgage on offer is edging closer to 6% as lenders continue to push up their rates.
On Tuesday the average five-year fixed-rate mortgage on the market now has an interest rate of 5.75%, according to financial information website Moneyfacts.
Ms Millar has now called for more targeted support for the most vulnerable, and said that “hundreds of thousands of people will be looking at interest rate decisions in the coming months with dread”.