There's this article from investsmart.com.au titled "Super rules that will save your mortage" (yes, the word "mortgage" has a missing "g") which talks about some super funds have special rules which allow members to access super benefits under "severe financial hardship" provisions. I hope we won't ever need to use that!
I am actually more interested in the first half of the article which talks about "mortgage stress" and "rent stress", some info from the article:
"More than half a million Australian households (547,000) were suffering mortgage stress, and another half a million were suffering rental stress, when the census survey was conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2006. Mortgage or rental stress is defined as spending more than 30% of your gross income to cover home loan payments, or rental payments."
"The situation has worsened in the year since the census was taken, with a third of households with mortgages (624,000) now being in mortgage stress, according to the Housing Industry Association (see table below). The research, conducted by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM), also found that the city under greatest stress was Sydney, with 41% of home-owners under mortgage stress."
"The most disturbing sign of things to come is the spectacular increase in the number of mortgage insurance claims due to homeowners defaulting on their mortgage repayments. Since 2005, mortgage insurance claims have increased from $49 million a year to $210 million - a 329% rise, according to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. The $210 million is a drop in the ocean in a $14 billion-plus mortgage market, but such a dramatic increase in claims indicates that mortgage stress is taking its toll."
I guess we all need to be more cautious with our spending and try not to build/purchase a house we could not afford. Plus need to have some insurance or spare $$ in case something unpredictable happened...