Mortgage Stress Grips Sydney’s Western Suburbs as Interest Rates Soar

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The recent surge in interest rates has sent shockwaves through the housing market, leading to increased mortgage stress and economic repercussions in the western suburbs of Sydney. 

Andre Lattouf, a father of three, recently sold his home in the Blacktown area after enduring eight consecutive interest rate increases.

“It’s frustrating and sad. We spent so much time renovating this place and putting so much into it, but my mortgage repayments have almost doubled, and it’s becoming a joke,” Lattouf said.

Blacktown, known as one of the epicentres of mortgage stress in the country, is witnessing the profound impact of the steepest interest rate hike in Australian history

Meanwhile, small businesses in the area also feel the repercussions, with Tony Tarabay, the owner of the popular eatery Zaatar Wou Zeit, witnessing a collapse in business as people tighten their belts. Tarabay’s mortgage repayments have doubled, leaving him with no choice but to consider selling his business.

Another affected business owner is Garry Gill, proprietor of Desi Touch barber shop. The combined effects of rising rents and decreased foot traffic have left Gill feeling squeezed on all sides.

Data from Domain reveals that distressed sales in Blacktown have almost doubled within a year, with 9.2% of new listings in May classified as such. Real estate agent Riza Kamerakkas, who operates in the area, confirms that 90% of his sales are driven by mortgage stress as individuals attempt to avoid financial catastrophe. 

While the situation may seem dire, Kamerakkas notes that buyer confidence remains surprisingly robust, characterizing it as “nuts.” Despite cutting back on other expenditures, Australians’ affinity for property ownership continues unabated. 

“They want to stop us spending, but the housing market is still on fire. People here will never stop spending,” he said.

As interest rates continue to impact mortgage holders and small businesses, the situation is a stark reminder of the delicate balance between homeownership aspirations and the economic realities many face. 

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