More than half of Australians would experience mortgage stress if rates rose just two percentage points, according to a new Galaxy poll commissioned by CoreLogic.

The Galaxy poll, which is used to build a picture of who the current Australian homebuyer is and how they would look in the future, showed that only 10% of homebuyers would have no difficulty with any interest rate increases. Fifty-two percent of respondents would struggle if interest rates rose two percentage points.  

A further 6% would have difficulty meeting mortgage repayments that were 0.5 percentage points higher, and 14% would have difficulty meeting repayments with a one percentage point increase.

The poll showed that 8% of homeowners were already having difficulty meeting mortgage repayments.

“You can clearly see the tension in households as they manage their debt costs,” said Lisa Claes, CEO of CoreLogic International. “While our own forecasts say there is not going to be a drop in house prices the question is really about interest rates. Interest rates play into the perceptions of housing affordability.”

In March, an exclusive analysis performed for the Australian Financial Review Weekend revealed that more than one million households would struggle with mortgage stress if interest rates rose just three percentage points.

Residential real estate is currently Australia’s largest asset class at $7trn. This far outstrips superannuation at $2.2trn and listed stocks at $1.8trn. Aussie households have more than half of their wealth tied up in the residential housing sector and approximately 70% of their debt is housing-related.