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Mortgage woes grow

A FIFTH of all mortgage holders in Ireland are continuing to struggle to pay their debts.

Credit card debt is a huge concern for one third of customers, according to a new survey of mortgage brokers. The research commissioned by Friends First found also found that some 17pc of the clients of mortgage brokers are experiencing difficulties paying their mortgage.

And worryingly, if interest rates were to rise by 2pc, the numbers struggling to repay their home loan would jump to a third.

A recent report estimated that 250,000 homeowners were in negative equity.

The recession is impacting on pension and saving patterns, with brokers reporting that half their clients are reducing their contributions to pension/investment products. Households are cutting back on paying into a pension and just over half of broker clients have reduced their pension contributions compared with last year.

The falling price of property is also a big concern for consumers, with almost half of the clients of brokers citing this as a big issue.

The Government is proposing a new 33pc tax relief for pension investment, which would reduce the relief for those paying tax at the 41pc rate but would mean more tax relief for those paying tax at 20pc.

"While there are some signs that a recovery is under way, it is clear that consumers are finding it very difficult to save for their futures," said Eamonn Twomey of Friends First.