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Life is not expected to get any easier for thousands of borrowers, with the last of the fixed-rate customers expected to step off the mortgage cliff soon.

A Finder survey of 1012 respondents – 292 of whom have a mortgage – revealed 27 per cent are due to come off a fixed rate in the next 12 months.

That’s roughly 891,000 mortgage holders who took out a low fixed-rate loan during the pandemic and are yet to roll onto variable rates that are, in most cases, almost three times higher.

A further 21 per cent, or 693,000 households, said they have already rolled off cheaper fixed rates in the past five years, with many struggling with sky-high repayments.

Finder Personal Finance Expert, Sarah Megginson, said thousands of Aussies still hadn’t experienced the pain of the fastest and largest rate hiking cycle on record.

“A massive change is coming for those borrowers who were very fortunate to put their rate on ice when they did,” Ms Megginson said.

“Rates have been rising persistently over the past two years and are 4.25 per cent higher than they were – but this group has been insulated from the sting, as they locked in their loan just before rates started to climb.”

Ahead of Reserve Bank of Australia cash rate decision on June 18, households are already reeling from 13 rate hikes since April 2022.

That’s seen the average borrower paying almost $1400 more in monthly repayments. 

Ms Megginson said experts were divided on whether the rate increasing cycle is over, though inflation is trending down, and the forecast is that the RBA cash rate will trend down with them.

“We expect that many mortgage holders will be unable to meet their monthly obligations if rates do increase, as it would be a huge financial shock,” she said.

Ms Megginson said borrowers in mortgage stress need to discuss hardship arrangements with their lender.

“There’s options available to struggling customers such as interest only loans and mortgage holidays until they can sort out their serviceability,” she said.

“For those overcommitted, there’s also the option to rent out a spare room or downsize if they’re not coping.”

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