It is not sunny in Surfers Paradise when it comes to mortgage delinquencies, with the beachside Queensland city proving the worst for mortgage delinquencies across the country.
A report by Fitch Ratings found that in the six months to September this year, Surfers Paradise became the worst-performing postcode when it comes to arrears on mortgages.
The area had a 30-plus day delinquency rate of 4%, replacing Nelson Bay in New South Wales, which was the highest delinquency area in the first half of this year.
Regional Western Australia proved to be a deteriorating area, with delinquencies up to 1.76%.
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The report said this area has experienced an increase in unemployment and declining house prices over the six months to September 2013, which contrasts with the rest of the western state.
It also found that other regional areas in New South Wales and Queensland have not improved as much as the rest of Australia.
Across the country overall, mortgage delinquencies were down to 1.25% for the period, from 1.45% at the end of March this year.
The figure is below the six-year average of 1.52%, but still above the 1.2% compared to the end of September 2012.
Tasmania was found to be the overall worst performing state, with 30-plus day arrears in Tasmania improved by only three basis points to 1.51% at start of September 2013.
The worst-performing region nationally was Hume City in Victoria, with a 30+ day delinquency rate of 2.10% at end-September 2013.
This replaced Fairfield-Liverpool in NSW, which Fitch Ratings reported has been the worst-performing region over the past seven and half years.
Fitch Rating’s James Zanesi told SmartCompany this morning that the rise of Surfer’s Paradise for mortgage delinquencies was not a surprise.
He says it took over Nelson Bay, which had held the post for seven years, as some coastal properties that had been very slow to sell in Nelson Bay were finally sold.
Zanesi says some properties took nine or ten months to get picked up by a buyer, which severely impacted the ability to repay mortgages in certain areas. He explains that a delinquency is measured at either one month of late repayments, or up to three months of late repayments, which suggests that the mortgage cannot be paid.
In regional Western Australia, Zanesi says mortgage delinquencies could be related to the mining boom, with people investing heavily in property, but as the boom dropped so did the ability to repay.
Zanesi expects the next six months of results to show the impact of the Christmas spending season, which can cause people to get behind on repayments.
Not surprisingly, the most affluent regions had the lowest mortgage delinquency rates, with lower northern Sydney, south east inner Brisbane, northern middle Melbourne and central Perth the best regions.
The delinquency rates in these regions were in the 0.45 to 0.74% range.