Lenders have given over 1.6 million mortgage payment holidays amid the ongoing pandemic, according to UKFinance.
As of 24 April, one in seven mortgages are now covered by payment holidays following steps taken by lenders to assist households during the crisis.
A payment holiday for the average household amounts to £755 per month of suspended payments.
Lenders have also announced additional help for homeowners on payment holidays or for those who have been furloughed. Payment holiday customers would not usually qualify for a product transfer, but due to the “current exceptional circumstances”, lenders are now waiving this rule.
UKFinance also revealed that more than 1.2 million mortgage payment holidays were approved in the first three weeks of the scheme, and hundreds of thousands more customers have been granted payment holidays in the last two weeks.
Over one third of all payment holidays were approved between 25 March and 1 April.
Stephen Jones, UK Finance CEO, said: “Lenders understand that many households are seeing their finances squeezed due to the coronavirus pandemic and we are working hard to help customers get through these tough times.
“The industry has acted quickly to support homeowners through this crisis and has taken decisive steps to ensure that eligible customers on payment holidays due to Covid-19 can opt for the security of fixing their monthly mortgage payments going forward.”
He added: “There is a range of support available to mortgage holders concerned about their finances.
“We would encourage any homeowners impacted by coronavirus to visit their lender’s website in the first instance to find out more information and how to apply.”
Robin Fieth, CEO of the Building Societies Association (BSA) said: “The Covid-19 situation means that right now times are far from normal and many households are worried about their finances.
“Lenders are working hard to help in a range of ways and it is right that this now includes the ability for those on a three-month payment holiday to be able to switch onto a new product with their existing lender at the end of a fixed term product should the two events coincide.”
Kate Davies, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), added: “This agreement builds on the commitment made by lenders in July 2018 to contact customers who are coming to the end of a mortgage deal and discuss what alternative options might be available.
“It offers additional – and no doubt welcome – reassurance that customers will not be penalised if they have sought an approved payment holiday during this difficult period.”