Reports of high mortgage stress rates in Toowoomba region alarmist: Heritage Bank

Reports that the 4350 postcode has a high number of households in mortgage stress are alarmist and misleading, Heritage Bank CEO Peter Lock said today.


Mr Lock said Toowoomba remained a very affordable place to buy a home, and Heritage, a major lender in the region, was simply not seeing any rise in the rate of mortgage stress.


He said the reports were alarmist for one simple reason – because the 4350 postcode contains more people than any other postcode in Australia.


“The reports were based purely on the number of people affected, not the proportion of people in the area,” Mr Lock said.


“The 4350 postcode has more than 102,000 people – the highest in the country,” he said


“That’s far more than most postcodes in the country. For example, postcode 4000 in Brisbane only has a population of just over 14,000.


“It stands to reason that if 4350 has the highest population in Australia, the actual number of households in mortgage stress might seem high.


“But it’s misleading to compare that number against other postcodes which contain a fraction of the population.


“That’s an alarmist way to skew statistics to paint a picture that just isn’t accurate.”


Mr Lock said Heritage’s 30 days arrears rate, an indicator of mortgage stress, was sitting at just 0.32% at the end of June – one third the industry average of 1.16%.


He said the median house price in Toowoomba was around $350,000 compared to $650,000 in Brisbane and around $1 million in Sydney.


“Don’t let these misleading reports give you the wrong impression – Toowoomba is a great place to buy a home and the level of mortgage stress here is still quite low.”

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