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Interest-only mortgage time bomb for 20,000 over 65s

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Written by: Lana Clements
07/02/2020
Around 20,000 borrowers with interest-only mortgages set to mature this year are aged 65 and over, analysis reveals.

More than 40,000 borrowers with regulated interest-only mortgages will reach the end of their term this year, owing an average £104,000, according to trade body UK Finance.

But almost half of these homeowners are over 65 and have more than £100,000 remaining on their mortgage.

It is the first of three significant waves of the loans maturing, as estimated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Borrowers in this first wave of maturities typically took out the loan in the late 1980s or early 1990s, backed by an endowment policy, ISA or pension.

In total, around 60,000 interest-only mortgages will mature this year, including the 41,000 regulated contracts and 19,000 non-regulated contracts (mortgages as a product only became regulated from 2004).

Strong equity position

Even though these homeowners owe more than £100,000, they have a low current loan to value (LTV), and are therefore in a strong equity position, according to UK Finance.

Almost half have under 25% LTV remaining, and three-quarters have less than 50%.

The borrowers typically have equity of £387,000.

It is expected the vast majority of homeowners will repay the outstanding sum in full on time or within a few months.

The high equity position gives borrowers who cannot repay more options, James Tatch principal, analytics at UK Finance, wrote in a blog.

But he stated: “Of course, the higher risks will lie outside this – among those with higher LTVs and/or lower absolute amounts of equity.

“Understanding the risks and options within the interest-only back book allows mortgage lenders to segment their books and to prioritise and personalise their contact programmes accordingly.”

UK Finance said maturities of the first wave of interest-only loans actually peaked in 2017 and 2018.

And fewer are set to mature this year than initially estimated in 2012, as a result of proactive action taken by lenders.

Tatch said the mortgage industry will continue to work with interest-only customers in 2020 and added the earlier customers talk to their lender the more options they will have.

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