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Longer mortgage terms spark pension income fear

Written by: Anna Sagar
The ageing first-time buyer coupled with the growing trend of longer mortgage terms, could mean the next generation of borrowers will be paying for their property well into retirement.

The average age of the first-time buyer has risen from 29 a decade ago to 32 now.

This is “unsurprising” due to house price inflation, according to online mortgage broker Trussle, which added this could increase further by the cost-of-living crisis.

It comes as data from the Financial Conduct Authority revealed more than 63,000 longer-term (35-year) mortgages were taken out by first-time buyers during the stamp duty holiday last year. This is a record number, representing a 75% year-on-year increase.

While for many first-time buyers, opting for these ‘marathon mortgages’ will make their monthly repayments more affordable in the short-term, they will repay more over the course of the mortgage term.

And as the state pension age has also been pushed back, (reaching 67 by 2028), Trussle said this combination of factors mean borrowers could be paying off their mortgages for longer, which could impact how much they are able to save for retirement.

It added that borrowers may even find themselves paying off their mortgage during retirement.

As such, it recommended making overpayments, stating this could cut the term and reduce the overall cost. Overpaying by just £50 a month could reduce mortgage terms by two years and save £5,000.

‘Homebuyers think of the here and now’

Amanda Aumonier, head of mortgage operations at Trussle, said: “This is an alarming trend that has been brewing for years. When purchasing a home, buyers naturally think about the here and now, which typically means looking for ways to keep their payments as low as possible.

“But, while taking out a longer term mortgage can be an effective way to keep short-term costs low, you will end up paying more back in the long-term. Not only this, but you could also still be paying off your mortgage during a period of life when your income begins to drop.”

She added that housing affordability had been “spiralling for years”, which meant first-time buyers could struggle to get on the property ladder.

“We have also taken a short-term approach into calculating the impact of soaring house prices. This data shows that the ramifications will reverberate for decades to come and will lead to consequences not yet accounted for. If this trend is to be addressed, we will need to see urgent action on affordability today,” she said.

Related: See’s Rush to secure stamp duty cut means higher borrowing costs for more information.

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