PHOTO: Les Ladki outside the dream home he bought with his wife. ABC News: Nadia Daly

Les Ladki thought he’d found his very own slice of paradise when he bought his house in a quiet suburb in Sydney’s north in 2001: a home among the gum trees, with views of a national park, and even an office space downstairs where he could build his software business.

Key points:

  • A growing number of Australians are finding themselves in mortgage arrears
  • Many find they get into trouble after illness or a relationship breakdown
  • Financial counsellors seeing increasing demand for their services

He and his wife, Samar, bought the Forestville property for half a million dollars, taking out a $250,000 home loan.

“We came here, only saw half the house, and we both agreed this is perfect,” Mr Ladki told 7.30.

It was love at first sight and the couple could picture themselves growing old together in the house’s sunny rooms and leafy gardens.

But two decades later, the loan has ballooned to over $600,000 and the couple are struggling to pay it back, along with several other debts, which total more than $1 million.