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  • 11/1/2008

Italians affected by high mortgage rates

mortgage rates
Nearly 2 million of Italians are struggling to make ends meet.
About 84 percent of Italians have difficulty paying their mortgage installments due to the effects of the global financial crisis.

The president of the Italian Consumer Federation, Rosario Trefiletti, says the country is 'definitely' faced with a mortgage crisis though it has been denied for years.


“About 3.2 million families have been affected by the rise in mortgage interest rates,” he told Press TV correspondent in Rome, Christine Legault.


Nearly 2 million of Italians are struggling to make ends meet and about 130,000 are running the risk of eviction.

“The cost of living is very high. It's hard to make ends meet with a low salary. You almost need a second job to do OK,” says a Rome citizen.

“It has been this way for several years now. You must be careful on what foods you buy. You must make smart choices not to spend too much,” says another citizen.


The government signed an agreement with the Italian Banking Association in May to allow for the renegotiation of variable mortgages into fixed-rate ones for those in difficulty in a bid to tackle the crisis. Trefiletti, however, says the plan is not practical.


In some cases, the repayment terms had to be extended to more than one hundred years to stabilize the rates, he says.


“This is an awful situation which coincides with the existing problems for Italian families; those with low purchasing power in the face of rising prices.”


The consumer federation has suggested that mortgage holders either renegotiate with their existing bank or transfer mortgage to a competitor, if it means obtaining better interest rates.

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