You can still get a standard residential mortgage if you’re 70 or older, however, the term length is likely to be shorter than it is for a younger applicant. No matter your age, mortgage approval rests predominantly on affordability, so if you’ve the means to repay a mortgage, your age alone should not be a barrier to buying property.
With an ageing population and rising home ownership costs, UK mortgage lenders have begun to recognise that people are buying property later in life than they once did. Some lenders have even extended their maximum age at repayment limits as far as 85-100 years old, with a handful not imposing a maximum age limit at all.
From the age of 55 upwards, there are also a range of specialist mortgage products that have been specifically designed for older borrowers. We’ll look at over 70s mortgage options in greater detail throughout this article.
Fill in your details to help us understand your mortgage situation and select the right options for you.
Get personalised mortgage recommendations that are suited to your individual needs.
Our partner will help you secure the right mortgage for you and your circumstances.
This type of mortgage can either be used to buy a new home, or to remortgage your current one, and there are a range of lenders willing to offer this type of home loan to the over 70s.
It’s important to note that it can be more costly to take on a mortgage at this age, as you will generally have a shorter term in which to repay the loan. Most lenders impose a maximum age limit at which you will need to have repaid the loan in full, which reduces the length of the terms available to you, although this is not true of every lender.
For example, if the lender’s maximum repayment age is 85 and you are currently 70, you could have up to 15 years to repay the mortgage, so long as you were able to prove that you could afford the repayments for that duration. Bear in mind that the repayments would be higher spread over 15 years than over a typical mortgage term of 25-30 years, however.
If you’re living in England and over the age of 55, the older people’s shared ownership scheme (OPSO) can help those on a lower income to buy a home suited to their needs.
The principle is the same as the standard shared ownership scheme, where you buy between 10-75% of a property, rather than the whole thing, making it more affordable. You then rent the share of your home that you don’t own from the housing association, who retain ownership of that percentage.
Where this differs from the main scheme, however, is that you will never fully own your home, as you can only increase ownership up to a total of 75% of the property. However, the benefit is that once you own 75%, you will no longer need to pay rent on the remaining 25% share, meaning you can stay there rent and mortgage free until you want to sell your home.
You can read about how to qualify for the OPSO scheme on their website.
Retirement interest-only mortgages are available to anyone over the age of 55 and makes another great over 70s mortgage option. A retirement interest only mortgage (or RIO) can be helpful for older applicants who are unable to qualify for a standard residential mortgage due to insufficient affordability, as only interest is payable, making the repayments much smaller.
This type of product can also be used to release equity from your home for your retirement. The mortgage is secured against your home, just as it is with any other mortgage, however, you will never need to repay the loan capital in your lifetime.
The lender will sell your home once you have passed away or moved into long-term care in order to repay the mortgage balance. If the proceeds of sale are greater than the value of your mortgage, the remaining funds from your home will go to your estate.
Equity release can be used for similar purposes to mortgages, from repaying your existing mortgage, to helping a loved one get onto the property ladder or simply accessing additional money for a more comfortable retirement.
However, there are risks involved with this type of borrowing, including tax, benefits and inheritance implications, that you should be fully aware of before you consider applying for an equity release scheme. You can read more about equity release mortgages in our in-depth article.
There are two types of equity release product:
Lifetime mortgages can be taken out by anyone over the age 55 and are secured against the equity (or value that you own) in your home. This is similar to a RIO in that the loan is repaid after you have passed away or gone into long-term care, but in this case, you don’t have to make any repayments, unless you would like to.
If you are hoping to leave an inheritance from the sale of your home, it may be better to repay some of the interest charged on your borrowing. If you choose not to make repayments, the interest will be ‘rolled up’ (added to the loan) which will increase the amount to be repaid when your home is sold. Repaying some or all of the interest will minimise how much the interest eats into the proceeds of sale that can be passed to your beneficiaries.
Home reversion plans are far less common than lifetime mortgages, as they are much less flexible. For example, you are unable to move home if you decide that you want to. This is a simpler transaction, in that you are not borrowing any money, rather the lender is buying your home from you at a discount on the true market value.
This means that you will be offered somewhere between 20-60% of the cost of your home as a lump sum immediately, but you can continue living in your home rent-free until you die or move into long-term care. There are no payments to be made during your lifetime.
There are a range of high street lenders who have extended their age limits slightly to 75 or 80 years of age as the maximum age you can be by the time you have finished repaying the loan, however, building societies and specialist lenders are likely to have greater flexibility for the over 70s.
For example, HSBC set the maximum age limit at 75, whereas Leeds Building Society set it at 85 at the end of their mortgage term. Specialist lender Aldermore will allow repayment up to the age of 100 years old. There are also some lenders without any maximum age limits at all, such as Loughborough, Suffolk and Cambridge building societies.
By the age of 70, most people will have retired, meaning their income is likely to be lower than that of working age people. Even those still in employment typically work shorter hours and have limited time left before they retire.
With all mortgage lending, the major concern for the lender is whether the borrower will be able to keep up their repayments throughout the duration of the mortgage. As retired people typically have a lower income, affordability is therefore the major reason why it’s more difficult to get a mortgage past 70.
That said, if you are able to provide evidence of a reliable income, either from private pension schemes, or ongoing business or investment income, you should still be able to get a mortgage, no matter how old you are.
Anything that you are able to provide your lender to prove that you have sufficient income to maintain your mortgage repayments, whether that’s a pension forecast, investment statements or an asset, such as a buy-to-let property will put you in good stead with most lenders.
Pushing age aside, the main things that will convince a lender to approve your application are the same as they are for any other borrower, so any of the following options could improve your chances of getting a mortgage over 70:
Provide a larger deposit
Keeping on top of bill repayments and maintain a good credit score
Keep your credit record up to date and contacting credit reference agencies to correct any mistakes
Avoid applying for any further credit
Create a spending budget to cut unnecessary outgoings and increase your expendable income
Consider asking a younger relative to be a guarantor
Kellie Steed, Mortgage Content Writer
There are a varied range of options available to those looking at mortgages for the over 70s, each with their own benefits and considerations. That's why when you're deciding the best path for you, it's always best to seek advice from a specialist, especially when it comes to equity release.”