Anyone interested in the effects of the crisis on households who are struggling to pay their mortgages should take a look at Michelle Norris and Simon Brooke’s lengthy report for MABS on the issue – Lifting the load: Help for people with mortgage arrears.  The report is based on desk research with respect to government and industry data and policy responses, and interviews conducted with 49 MABS clients (in 43 households, in nine MABS offices across the country).  Divided into six sections the report details the study parameters, provides a general overview of the housing bubble and bust, details pathways into and through arrears from the perspective of households, and looks at prospective pathways out of arrears.  The study gives a fascinating insight into how households became indebted (mortgages and other credit) and how they are trying to negotiate their various debts, including dealing with mortgage arrears.  The report concludes by noting that ‘the costs to the State of putting in place appropriate measures to tackle the issue of mortgage arrears will be less than the costs of not doing so’, and it makes a number of recommendations with respect to changes in policy interventions.

Rob Kitchin