The research, based on a YouGov survey of more than 4,000 adults across the UK, shows that in an increasing number of cases household budgets are reaching crisis point. It suggests that more people are seriously concerned about being able to keep their homes.
Families appear to be worst affected, with more than 70 per cent of respondents with children either struggling or falling behind on their mortgage or rent payments. The figure is 63 per cent for those without children.
Shelter warns that many people who feel overwhelmed by money worries will put off paying overdue bills until it’s too late – and put their homes at risk.
The findings reveal a worrying trend of people unable to face up to their financial difficulties.
With over one person in three expecting to struggle with their mortgage or rent payments in 2014, the charity is urging those who are concerned about their housing costs to get help as early as possible by visiting shelter.org.uk/advice.
Helpline adviser Liz Clare said: “We’re now seeing a stream of cases of families who’ve been unable to cope with mounting rent or mortgage bills and feel at breaking point.
“We hear from people every day who are struggling. Our message to anyone struggling to pay their rent or mortgage is that we’re on your side. Come to us for help early on for the best chance of keeping your home.”
Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb added: “It’s a worrying sign of the times that so many are worried about how they’ll pay their rent or mortgage in 2014. Unless they get help, some of the families struggling now could face the very real prospect of losing their home this year.”