Mortgage Burden on Retirees

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Over 70s Saddled With Extraordinary Total Mortgage Debt of £35.2 billion,

Four in 10 over 50s in the UK are paying off a mortgage worth on average of £49,000 and a fifth in their 70s are still paying off their mortgage, new research has found.

Overall more than 900,000 people in their 70s still have an average mortgage bill of some £38,000 and that means the over 70s are saddled with an extraordinary total mortgage debt of £35.2 billion, according to the study by Saga Personal Finance.

And for 6.3 million over 50s with an interest only mortgage who had intended to pay it off with an endowment policy, the outlook is not good with two thirds saying their underperforming endowment will not foot the bill.

Indeed, some are having to contemplate selling their house to make up an average shortfall of more than £42,000 and a third of over 50s, would need to sell their house to make up the shortfall, according to Saga’s research.

Two thirds of over 50s have made alternative plans to pay off their mortgage, often using a combination of options. A third say they will dip into their savings, 22% say they have been making capital repayments to reduce the debt, 18% will use other investments to make up the shortfall and just over one in 10 say they have extended their mortgage to give them extra time to pay it off. However, more than one in 10, some 1.7 million people, admit they have no way of bridging the gap.

Another solution for people who have no idea how they are going to clear the mortgage or who are facing the decision to have to sell a home they do not want to part with could be to use equity release to clear the debt.

‘Being saddled with mortgage debt well into your retirement is far from ideal as it means keeping an eye on the coffers when you should be making the most of life,’ said Jeff Bromage, chief operating officer, Saga Personal Finance.

‘Millions of British home owners have been hit hard by underperforming endowments. Thankfully, there are options available. A growing number of people are turning to equity release as in order to avoid selling their home. Selling and moving is probably the least-favoured option for many facing a shortfall, as their home is so much more than bricks and mortar and will hold so many happy memories,’ he explained.

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