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Delayed home ownership drives down expectation of being mortgage-free in retirement

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Written by: Mortgage Solutions
09/12/2021
One in three homeowners with a mortgage are uncertain if they will be debt-free before they retire or they have already ruled the possibility out

Borrowers’ lack of certainty that they will be mortgage-free in retirement follows the findings that almost half of mortgaged homeowners under the age of 40 got on to the property ladder much later than expected, compared with 29% of those aged over 40-years-old.

According to a survey of 5,000 adults carried out by the Equity Release Council, borrowers who expect to still be paying their mortgage later on in life have a more relaxed attitude about their debt than the previous generation.

Almost a quarter of mortgage homeowners surveyed said they didn’t mind still paying off their debt in retirement.

Some 70% of mortgaged homeowners felt comfortable with their current level of mortgage debt, rising to 75% of those aged 50 and over.

Many also felt taking out a mortgage in later life could benefit them. More than 30% saw it as a way to provide money to improve their lifestyles, while 31% saw it as a way to access funds to help out family members.

However, 67% of mortgaged homeowners did not think financial service providers were getting better at offering mortgages to people in retirement. The need for clear consumer information was a view held by 36% of respondents who said they were confused about what mortgages were available to people in later life. This confusion was highest among the under 40s.

Jim Boyd, chief executive of the Equity Release Council, said: “The realities of delayed homeownership are prompting people to reassess their attitudes to secured debt in later life. There are clear signs that paying a mortgage in retirement is no longer a taboo: for many people it can make the difference between financial hardship and enjoying a more comfortable lifestyle while also supporting family members.”

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