Homeowners 'struggling to meet mortgage repayments'

Australia appears to have one of the steadiest economies in the world at the moment, but that does not mean people down under are not seeing their finances being stretched to the limit.

New figures released by global ratings agency Fitch have shown the number of property owners falling behind with their home loan repayments is growing.

The data indicated that the amount of people defaulting on their mortgage has increased from 1.52 per cent to 1.57 per cent.

This news will surprise many economists, as the recent Genworth Homebuyer Confidence Index showed Aussies are increasingly confident about entering the property market at the moment.

Interest rate cuts sanctioned by the Reserve Bank of Australia in November and December 2011 were also thought to have helped people secure a new home, but clearly this has not been enough.

"It is too early to judge which factors contributed to the increase in arrears during quarter four of 2011," commented James Zanesi of Fitch's Structured Finance Team.

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