Mortgage stress is impacting even affluent households.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus22 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market22 hours agoDeakin University law school professional research fellow and financial analyst Gill North said mortgage and financial stress in Australia were already at record levels and rising interest rates would only increase the pressure.“When external events and or the personal circumstances of these highly indebted households deteriorate, the number of people who cannot afford to rent or purchase a home is likely to increase exponentially, leaving many more households without adequate accommodation,” she said. “In extreme instances, other households may lose the residential property they presently live in due to rental defaults or a forced sale or foreclosure.” BIG BUCKS FOR LUXURY PENTHOUSE Digital Finance Analytics calculates mortgage stress using household cash flow based on real incomes, outgoings and mortgage repayments, rather than the traditional 30 per cent of income measure.It gathers information from household surveys, the RBA, ABS and APRA. More than 91 per cent of mortgage brokers surveyed by HashChing expect interest rates to remain unchanged in December.CommSec chief economist Craig James expects the next move in interest rates to be up, but not until later in 2018.Online bookmaker sportsbet.com.au has the shortest odds on the chance of one interest rate change in 2018.TOP 10 POSTCODES FOR MORTGAGE STRESS IN QLDPostcode Number in stress % in stress At risk of default1. 4350 (Toowoomba region) 5975 43.7 2162. 4305 (Ipswich region) 3497 43.3 883. 4034 (Aspley, Boondall, Carseldine) 3234 51.9 764. 4152 (Camp Hill, Carina, Carindale) 3082 46.4 865. 4053 (Brookside, Stafford, Mitchelton) 3054 44.4 100 6. 4300 (Springfield, Goodna, Camira) 3004 36.2 1087. 4740 (Mackay region) 2896 25 189 8. 4306 (Amberley, Blackbutt, Willowbank) 2582 40.5 689. 4352 (Upper Lockyer, Preston, Yandilla) 2479 49 59 10. 4870 (Cairns region) 2267 25.7 147(Source: Digital Finance Analytics) The RBA is expected to keep the official cash rate on hold in December. Image: AAP/Dean Lewins.Digital Finance Analytics principal Martin North said he had noticed a slight boost in household incomes in southeast Queensland households as a result of better job prospects in the past month.“It’s not a huge improvement, but definitely there,” Mr North said.“If you compare it to the situation in South Australia, New South Wales or WA, we’re not seeing that same improvement, so employment prospects definitely look more positive in Queensland, particularly in and around Brisbane.” AUSSIE EXPERTS BACK BITCOIN But Mr North said it was a different story outside of the state’s capital.“I am more concerned about places like Toowoomba and further north in the Bowen Basin, where the mining overhang is still there,” he said.“I do think there are still significant risks in those regional towns and I can’t see any evidence of income improvement in those areas.” Nearly 30 per cent of Australian households are in mortgage stress. Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts.FEWER Queenslanders are in mortgage stress than they were a month ago, but only a small jump in interest rates could force thousands to sell up or default on their home loans.Across the state, more than 157,000 households were in stress at the end of November, compared to nearly 163,000 the month prior, according to new numbers crunched by Digital Finance Analytics.More than 52,000 Queensland households are at risk of defaulting on their home loan in the next 12 months — unchanged from a month ago. GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE Those most at risk are in Toowoomba, Ipswich, Mackay, Cairns and pockets of Brisbane’s north and south.Economists are predicting the Reserve Bank of Australia to leave the official cash rate on hold at 1.5 per cent when it meets Tuesday for the final time this year, but most expect interest rates to rise in 2018. An aerial view of West Toowoomba and its suburbs.Across Australia, nearly 30 per cent of households are estimated to be in mortgage stress, with more than 21,000 of those in severe stress, according to Digital Finance Analytics.Mr North said default pressure was also building among more affluent households and beyond the traditional mortgage belts. THIS VIEW LANDED A MONSTER PRICE Even the Brisbane suburbs of Camp Hill, Carina and Carindale are feeling the pinch, with young professionals and families taking on big mortgages and high levels of household debt.“I think the slightly more affluent households could be the biggest problem, particularly if interest rates do start to rise,” Mr North said.