The Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) said that more than 20,000 (20,717) of the people seeking its help in the first six months of 2011 have been in mortgage arrears.
More than half of these clients in arrears are female and more than half of these women in arrears are single. The charity added that most of these females with debt problems are between the ages of 40 and 59, with two thirds on low incomes.
CCCS said the share of its clients in mortgage arrears who are female is rising. In 2009, 51.7 per cent of these clients were female, rising to 52.7 percent in 2010.
It has now risen further, with 53.7 per cent of the charity’s clients in arrears for the first six months of 2011 being female.
Delroy Corinaldi, external affairs director for CCCS, said: “While people of all ages and backgrounds can find themselves struggling to pay their mortgage, there appears to be certain groups who are more likely to find themselves in arrears.
"I fear that this situation is going to get worse when interest rates rise which will leave many more unable to meet their mortgage payments. Generally, lenders are showing understanding to our clients in arrears, and long may it continue.”
The charity’s figures also show a rising curve of debt problems affecting the middle aged across the nation.
CCCS said 53.5 per cent of its clients in arrears during the first half of 2011 were between 40 and 59 years old. This is a rise from 52.8 percent in 2010 and 50.9 percent in 2009.
A further trend emerges when the incomes of CCCS clients in arrears is looked at, with the largest proportion consistently in the income group earning between £10,000 and £20,000 a year.
For the first six months of 2011, 42.2 per cent of CCCS clients in arrears earned between £10,000 and £20,000.
The second largest share (28 per cent) is those earning below £10,000, and the third (20.6 per cent) is those earning between £20,000 and £30,000.