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by administrator @, Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 10:00

Mortgage payments in 2011 fell to their lowest level in a decade, figures released by Barclays reveal.

The bank's analysis of more than one million customers' accounts found that people paid on average 15.4 per cent of their take home pay last year to cover their monthly mortgage payments - compared to 20.8 per cent at its highest point in 2008.

The lowest point since records began ten years ago was in September 2011 when the average mortgage payment fell to just 15.2 per cent or £488 a month.

Andy Gray, head of mortgages at Barclays, said: "With the cheapest ever mortgage deals offered to homeowners last year and the fiercely competitive mortgage market it stands to reason that the average monthly mortgage payment was at its most affordable level in a decade."

An opinion poll, commissioned by the bank, has recently showed the majority of homeowners say they are more comfortable with their current payment levels now than they were at the same time last year.

A large majority of them (64%) find their mortgage affordable compared to just 52% a year ago. Up to 83% of homeowners also declared they have room for manoeuvre should their circumstances or interest rates change in the coming months.

Mr Gray said: "However, Barclays is urging homeowners not to be complacent with this affordability and to act early on in 2012 to secure good mortgage deals, as they may be able to cut their monthly mortgage payments further."

When asked about budgeting for 2012, the top three concerns for homeowners were energy bills (63%), cost of running a car (39%) and cost of food (35%).

Mr Gray added: "We know that other financial factors are likely to bite again this year, but homeowners can't afford to forget about their mortgage just because base rate is predicted to remain at record lows throughout 2012.

"The cost of energy bills, running a car and food may be beyond their control, but homeowners have an opportunity to look at their mortgage payments and shop around for better deals to ensure their mortgage remains affordable during 2012 and beyond, which will also help to offset any other rising household costs."

mortgage payments

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