What YOU should do if lockdowns have taken away your job and you’re struggling to pay your mortgage

What you should do if lockdowns have taken away your job and you’re struggling to pay your mortgage – as cost of Sydney’s shutdown hits $1.5BILLION a week

  • Australian banks are offering mortgage holidays like they did in early 2020
  • Sydney lockdown rules now ban construction work and non-essential trading
  • But there are costs associated with deferring loan repayments for two months
  • KPMG estimates stricter Sydney lockdown will now cost $1.5billion a week 

Australians who have lost their job because of lockdowns can ask their bank for a mortgage holiday.

Construction workers in Sydney have been banned from going to a building site since Monday, while non-essential shops have stopped trading since Saturday.

Melbourne is expected to extend its lockdown on Tuesday beyond the initial five days, with non-critical retailers also barred from opening.

Professional services firm KPMG is now calculating Sydney’s stricter lockdown will cost $1.5billion a week – more than double Treasury’s estimate of $700million for the earlier, more moderate lockdown that had allowed all shops to trade.

Small business owners and workers with a mortgage can ask their bank for a loan repayment holiday as they were able to in March 2020 during the national Covid lockdowns.

Australians who have lost their job because of lockdowns can ask their bank for a mortgage holiday. Pictured is a stock image

Lockdown relief from the big banks

COMMONWEALTH: Eviction moratorium until February 2022, two-month deferrals

WESTPAC: Three-month loan deferrals

ANZ: Two-month deferrals 

But RateCity research director Sally Tindall said borrowers needed to realise that deferring repayments for two months on a $500,000 mortgage would add an extra $1,712 in servicing costs over the remaining 25 years of the loan.

‘As helpful as they can be to get you through a tight spot, a mortgage deferral is by no means free,’ she said.

The Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s biggest home lender, on Monday announced it would have a moratorium on evictions until February 2022. 

Borrowers in south-west Sydney are being offered automatic two-month mortgage deferrals, with three-month holidays for small business loans. 

Residents in the Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown council areas have been banned from leaving their area unless they work in health care or emergency services. 

Fairfield is particularly affected with taxi and ride-share drivers and construction site labourers among the most common occupations, Census data showed. 

Construction workers in Sydney have, since Monday, been banned from going to a building site (pictured is a house under construction at Marsden Park

Construction workers in Sydney have, since Monday, been banned from going to a building site (pictured is a house under construction at Marsden Park 

Westpac, Australia’s oldest bank, is offering three-month mortgage deferrals for home loan and small business borrowers. 

ANZ is offering two-month deferrals.

In March last year as the national Covid restrictions were imposed, the big four banks offered six-month mortgage deferrals. 

KPMG chief economist Dr Brendan Rynne is calculating Sydney’s new, stricter lockdowns would cost $220million a day in economic activity, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Saturday announcing the restrictions would last until at least July 30.

The weekly cost of $1.5billion is more than double the $700million figure, calculated by federal Treasury before the New South Wales lockdown restrictions were expanded for Sydney, the Central Coast, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains.

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver had put the economic cost at $1billion a week based on the original lockdown rules of June 26.

To put that into perspective, the ABC receives $1billion a year from taxpayers. 

KPMG also predicted lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne into August and would cause the Australian economy to contract in the September quarter, marking the first negative quarter since the Covid recession of 2020.

Non-essential shops (pictured is a boarded up shop in Fairfield, in Sydney's south-west) have stopped trading since Saturday, unless they are a supermarket, fruit and vegetable seller, petrol station or pharmacist

Non-essential shops (pictured is a boarded up shop in Fairfield, in Sydney’s south-west) have stopped trading since Saturday, unless they are a supermarket, fruit and vegetable seller, petrol station or pharmacist

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