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Getting a mortgage when you’re older

Tom Martin
Written by Tom Martin, Content editor

Edited by Rachel Wait, Finance Writer, 1 March 2022

Lenders are becoming more flexible about offering mortgages to older borrowers. Read on to find out which lenders have the most generous age limits, how to apply for a mortgage as an older borrower and what to watch out for.
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Getting a Mortgage When You’re Older
Getting a mortgage when you’re older

Getting a mortgage when you’re older is gradually becoming easier as the UK mortgage market adapts to an ageing population that is retiring later in life.

Thanks to high property prices and rising student debt, many people are buying their first home much later in life. Increasing numbers also want mortgage terms that last longer than the traditional 25 years. When taken together, these trends mean that more people will be in their 60s, 70s or even 80s before repaying their mortgage. 

This guide highlights which lenders have the highest mortgage age limits, explains how to increase your chances of getting a mortgage as an older borrower, and offers some alternative options to consider.

Which mortgage could you get?

Compare a huge range of mortgages of all types on our comparison tables.

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What is the age limit for getting a mortgage?

The maximum mortgage age limit for getting a mortgage varies depending on the lender but ranges between 70 and 95. A few lenders, such as Loughborough, Suffolk and Cambridge building societies, have no upper age limit. 

Most lenders impose a maximum age limit when borrowers must repay the mortgage. NatWest, for example, sets a maximum age of 70 for the end-of-term date. HSBC beats that at 75, while Halifax’s mortgages must be repaid by the time the borrower is 80.

In some cases, lenders might stipulate both a maximum age limit at the time of application and a maximum age by which the loan must be repaid. Leeds Building Society, for example, accepts mortgage applications from borrowers who could be as old as 85 at the end of their mortgage term, but they must be 80 years or younger at the time of application. 

Age limits for getting a mortgage

Updated 1 March 2022
Applicant ageLikelihood of acceptanceLender considerations
50HighMost lenders will offer standard terms and competitive rates for borrowers aged 50.
55HighMost lenders are happy to offer mortgages with standard terms and rates for those aged 55.
60HighMany lenders will still offer mortgages to those aged 60, but they may slightly reduce the length of the mortgage term.
65FairMany lenders offer mortgages to those aged 65. But your future retirement income will need to be verified if your mortgage term extends beyond your expected retirement age.
70FairIt is still possible to get a mortgage if you’re aged 70, provided you have evidence of your retirement income, and you repay your mortgage within the next 5-15 years, depending on the lender.
75ModerateFewer mortgage lenders will offer loans to those aged 75, but options are still available. Borrowers will need to show evidence of their retirement income.
80ModerateA few lenders will offer mortgages to those aged 80, but mortgage terms are usually short.
85LowA limited number of lenders will offer mortgages to those aged 85. Term lengths will be shorter and interest rates higher.
90LowOnly a handful of niche lenders will offer mortgages to those aged 90. Term lengths will be shorter and interest rates higher.
95LowVery few lenders offer mortgages to those aged 95, and those that do have stricter criteria and higher rates.
No age limitLowA handful of lenders have no upper age limit on their mortgages. Rates might be higher and criteria stricter.

Can I get a mortgage after I retire?

Yes, you can get a mortgage after retirement, with some lenders being more flexible than others. However, be aware that lenders can be more reluctant to let you borrow because you will no longer have a regular salary.

Lenders want to be sure you can continue to afford your monthly repayments. They will ask to see evidence that you have sufficient income from your pension or other income sources, such as investments, shares and buy-to-let property, to cover the repayments.  

Having a good credit score and showing you’ve borrowed responsibly in the past can increase your chances of being accepted for a mortgage in retirement. 

Moving to a smaller home in a cheaper area could also enable you to unlock some of the equity in your existing property, which could work in your favour. 

Why is it harder to get a mortgage when you are older?

If you’re aged 50, you shouldn’t have any difficulty getting a mortgage. After all, life expectancy continues to rise, and more people are working later in life, which means you’re likely to have a regular salary for longer. 

However, as you get older and get closer to retirement, it can become harder to get accepted for a mortgage and mortgage terms can be shorter. If, for example, you’re only planning to work for the next 18 years, you might find it harder to get accepted for a 25-year deal. 

Lenders become more concerned about your ability to repay your debt the closer you are to retiring. Even if you’re due to have income from your pension, lenders can’t easily assess how much you’ll be receiving. 

As you get older, there’s also an increased risk of ill health which means you may not live to the end of your mortgage term.

How can I improve my chances of getting a mortgage as an older borrower?

Do

  • Have evidence of state pension payments and other retirement income 

  • Have evidence of other sources of income such as investments 

  • Seek advice from a mortgage broker

  • Reduce your debt-to-income ratio by paying off debt

Don't

  • Make too many mortgage applications in a short timeframe

  • Ignore your credit report – it’s important to check it regularly

  • Make significant purchases just before making your application

  • Forget to research all your mortgage options carefully

Best mortgage types for older borrowers

If a standard mortgage is not available to you, there are several other options for you to consider, as outlined below:

Lifetime mortgage

A lifetime mortgage is a form of equity release, and can be taken out if you’re aged 55 and above. The mortgage is secured against your home, and the amount borrowed is then repaid, plus interest, when you move into long-term care or pass away.

Home reversion

Another form of equity release is a home reversion plan.  This enables you to sell all or part of your home to a provider in return for a lump sum or regular payments. You can remain living in your home rent-free for the rest of your life, as long as you maintain it.

Older People’s Shared Ownership

Older People’s Shared Ownership schemes are available for those aged 55 and over. You can buy a share of your home, between 10% and 75%, and pay rent on the remaining portion. Once you own 75%, you won’t have to pay rent on the remaining share.

Retirement interest-only mortgage

Retirement interest-only mortgages are aimed at those aged 55 and over and work in a similar way to a standard interest-only mortgage – you only pay back the interest, not the loan, each month. The loan is usually repaid when you pass away, move into long term care or sell the home.

Can I get equity release as an older borrower?

Equity release plans are available to those aged 55 and upwards. The exact criteria can vary depending on the provider, but you’ll usually qualify if you’re a homeowner aged 60–85. 

If you have a small mortgage remaining on your property, you may still be eligible for equity release, but you will need to pay off the outstanding mortgage at the same time as taking out your plan. 

However, equity release schemes can be expensive depending on the agreed value of your home and the property market. What's more, you won't be able to leave your home to anyone when you die.

Mortgages for over 50s

You should still have plenty of mortgage options available to you if you’re in your 50s. Many lenders will be happy to offer you a mortgage with a standard 25-year term and competitive interest rates. In some cases, you may be asked to show evidence of your predicted retirement income. 

Consider your options carefully and use an over 50s mortgage calculator to explore what’s available. Make sure you can comfortably afford the mortgage repayments and be realistic about your future earning potential. Don’t overstretch yourself – after all, do you really still want to be paying off your mortgage in your 70s?

Mortgages for over 60s

You should still be able to enjoy some of the mortgage flexibility of your 50s once you reach the age of 60, but your options will be slightly more limited. Mortgages for over 60s tend to offer shorter mortgage terms of 10-20 years, and you might find that mortgage rates start to creep up.

It’s also likely that you’ll need to provide evidence that the income from your pension, annuities or other investments can meet your mortgage repayments. 

Mortgages for the over 70s

Getting a mortgage in your 70s is certainly possible, but you will find your options are more limited. You will have fewer lenders and fewer deals to choose from, and you may only be eligible for terms of 5-15 years. Interest rates are also likely to be less competitive.

However, some lenders are more flexible than others, particularly if you look at building societies and niche lenders, where you may be able to borrow up to the age of 95. It may also be possible to apply for a guarantor mortgage if you can provide a guarantor who would be willing to meet the repayments should you be unable to.   

What to do if I can’t get a mortgage as an older borrower?

If you’re not able to get a mortgage as an older borrower, there are alternative ways to get credit over 50. For example, as a homeowner, you could apply for a secured loan of up to £100,000 by using your home as security against the loan.  

However, be aware that if you cannot keep up with your repayments, you could lose your home, so consider this option with care. 

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