With much attention on those at risk of repossession or running up rent arrears, it's emerged that many others have actually used the pandemic to pay down mortgage debt.
The Equity Release Council says owners have used money saved during three lockdowns to overpay more than £5 billion of mortgage debt between October and December 2020 alone.
The ERC claims this to be the largest overpayment in almost 15 years.
Quarter four 2020 overpayments of £5.1 billion were 18 per cent higher than the same period of 2019 and 22 per cent up on Q3 2020.
The council also cites a separate Bank of England survey in November 2020, which revealed 28 per cent of households had accrued extra savings during the pandemic.
At the other end of the ownership spectrum some 1.6m households took advantage of lenders’ mortgage payment holiday offers - either out of necessity or as a precaution.
Jim Boyd, chief executive of the Equity Release Council, says: “These figures suggest mortgage holders across the nation have been polarised by the experience of the pandemic.”
Boyd believes the “unexpected gift of extra savings” has encouraged some homeowners to pay down mortgage debt but others hit by health or employment emergencies have had to rely on furlough funding and pause loan payments, increasing their overall mortgage debt.