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Middle-aged Australians who are reliant on tourism income are the most likely to have deferred their mortgage, new research has revealed.
Research released by Equifax shows nine of the top 10 regions that deferred mortgage repayments where tourism hotspots in Queensland.
Among the Australian regions with a higher proportion of deferrals compared with the national average were Noosa, Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta, - , Broadbeach-Burleigh, Southport and the Gold Coast Hinterland.
“The impact of the downturn on tourist trade is acute for Australians living in tourism-dependent Queensland regions,” Kevin James, general manager advisory and solutions, Equifax, said.
“Tourism is a major industry for Queensland, and with international and domestic visitors curtailed during the pandemic, tourist hotspots have faced reduced occupancy rates, lower incomes and higher levels of unemployment, leaving mortgage-holders feeling the pinch. With the Queensland border beginning to reopen to parts of NSW and SA this week, we expect to see a bounce-back as tourism dollars start to flow back into the region.”
Melbourne suburbs in the top 10 deferral hotspots
It is important to point out that the data released by Equifax was during the first lockdown, with Melbourne going through a second forced shutdown.
The financial difficulty experienced in these Victorian regions can be attributed to a higher prevalence of lower socioeconomic suburbs, with low-income households and young people just starting out on the property ladder.
“COVID-19 is having a particularly negative effect on the employment of young people. For those without significant savings, it isn’t easy to service a home loan when cash flow dries up. We know Melbourne’s second lockdown will have further exacerbated the difficulties we’ve seen in our initial analysis on the available May data. Equifax will be closely monitoring this over the coming months to identify new hotspots,” Mr James concluded.