Financial TimesFinancial Times

‘The wolf is coming’: Rising rates push Spain’s homeowners to the brink

By Barney Jopson

03 Nov 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

We're all aware of rising interest rates in Europe, but what do they mean for homeowners? In Spain, many people with variable-rate mortgages are now under severe financial strain.

Isabel Benito’s four-bedroom chalet in Colmenar Viejo, an airy town with views of the mountains north of Madrid, is not the archetypal home of a family living on the edge. But the bank documents and scribbled notes she keeps in a bulging shopping bag in her living room are testament to the financial strain she is under.

Benito, 56, is worried that the payments on her variable-rate mortgage — the typical contract for most Spanish homeowners — could soon jump from €902 a month to over €1,300. “There’s fear of losing your home, fear of losing what you have paid for so far, and all the sacrifices you have made,” she says. “A lot of fear, and a lot of sadness.”

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