In recent weeks, several lenders have increased their upper age limits on mortgages and others, like Santander and Nationwide, have already moved or are moving towards offering their customers lifetime mortgages. The question however, is is the lending market currently doing enough to serve older borrowers or does it still have some way to go?
Overall, whilst there are moves in the right direction which are welcomed, it does seem that some lenders still have some way to go to shake of their “ageist” tag.
I do appreciate that it is not quite so simple as unfortunately there is an increased risk of borrowers dying or having to go into long term care which causes issues, but to me if we are working on affordability, as all lenders are now since the Mortgage Market review, and this has been assessed accurately using pension income as an example and judged affordable then age should not be a factor.
Interestingly, borrowers themselves do not seem unduly worried about their affordability or otherwise, but more concerned with how a lender is going to treat them as they get older. There needs to be more understanding and proper rules set down as to what happens if a spouse dies for example that are clear and fair.
Clarity is everything.
What is more nonsensical to me however, are any age limits at all where Buy To Let loans are concerned, especially when many are purchased to help provide an income in retirement. There is no risk around having to repossess a property and turfing out an elderly person onto the streets here as it is a purely commercial decision, so there should be more leeway.
Having to pay back a loan by age 75 or 80, just when some people most need that supplementary income seems unfair.
The good news however is that there has at least been some movement from lenders and particularly the Building Society’s Association should take a lot of credit for pushing their members to review their policies around age. We now have some lenders who have no limits on age or who have pushed back these limits some way.
So. for those borrowers who feel there is no point looking for a mortgage due to their age, or are worrying as the end of their mortgage term fast approaches, fear not. There are options available.