According to Roy Morgan Research, approximately 19.4% of Australian borrowers were at risk of mortgage stress in the three months to July 2022. 

This period included the first three interest rate increases from the RBA - the cash rate target hit 1.35% in early July. 

Despite the high number of borrowers that are considered at risk of mortgage stress, this number is below the high reached during the global financial crisis in 2009 (1.45 million mortgage holders).

Approximately 542,000 mortgage holders are considered extremely at risk of mortgage stress in the three months to July 2022. 

This is below the average of the last decade by 13.9%. 

Read more: What is mortgage stress?

The research shows mortgage stress is set to increase to nearly one-in-four borrowers by November as the RBA is set to hike the cash rate further in the coming months.

Economists tip it to go as high as 3.60% in early 2023.

If the cash rate increases by another 50 basis points in both October and November, Roy Morgan research has modelled an approximate 1.1 million borrowers would be classified as at risk of mortgage stress.

This is an increase of 246,000 on July 2022 and would be the most mortgage holders classified as at risk since July 2013. 

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said although rising interest rates are one contributing factor for rising mortgage stress, it’s not the only one to consider.

“It’s important to consider that interest rates are but one variable that determines whether a mortgage holder is considered at risk,” Ms Levine said.

“The variable that has the largest impact on whether a borrower falls into the at risk category is related to household income – which is directly related to employment.

“These figures suggest that as long as employment levels remain strong the number of mortgage holders considered at risk will not increase to anywhere near the levels experienced during the GFC in 2007-2009 when well over 30% of mortgage holders were considered at risk.”

With many fixed rate home loans set to expire in 2023, AMP senior economist Diana Mousina said this is one reason borrowers are vulnerable to higher interest rates.

“The big bank mortgage books suggest that the largest share of fixed-rate loans expire in the second half of 2023 and this means that households will roll onto a variable or fixed mortgage rate that could be 2-3 times their current fixed rate which is a big increase in debt servicing costs,” Ms Mousina said.

“On the RBA’s own estimates, around 38% of households with a mortgage will see a lift in monthly repayments of 40% or more if interest rates rise by 300 basis points [the RBA has so far increased interest rate by 225 basis points], which is around 1.3 million households.

“This is a very large increase in housing costs for a good share of the population and is too large to be compensated by a rise in wages growth.”


Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Update resultsUpdate
LenderHome LoanInterest Rate Comparison Rate* Monthly Repayment Repayment type Rate Type Offset Redraw Ongoing Fees Upfront Fees LVR Lump Sum Repayment Additional Repayments Split Loan Option TagsFeaturesLinkCompare
6.04% p.a.
6.06% p.a.
Principal & Interest
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5.99% p.a.
5.90% p.a.
Principal & Interest
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  • Unlimited redraws & additional repayments. LVR <80%
  • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
6.14% p.a.
6.16% p.a.
Principal & Interest
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Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. Some products will be marked as promoted, featured or sponsored and may appear prominently in the tables regardless of their attributes. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the product provider’s website. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of . View disclaimer.

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