Buy-to-let Borrowing for an Ageing UK Population
Traditionally borrowing gets harder as you get older, but it is now getting easier to secure a buy-to-let mortgage when you’re over 60. This doesn’t mean over 60s can’t get a mortgage. But lenders might impose an age limit for taking out the mortgage, plus a maximum age for when the mortgage term will need to end.
When it comes to buy-to-let, retired borrowers may have previously found it difficult to secure a mortgage to purchase a buy-to-let property. Lenders were reluctant to offer them finance, particularly if they were still in debt in their retirement.
With around 1,000 mortgage deals available for terms of up to 40 years, which means a buy to let borrower aged 45 years old can easily expect to have a mortgage on a private rented home for 45 years. This seems to be working as the latest buy to let mortgage data from lender trade body UK Finance reveals landlord remortgages are outnumbering loans to buy new homes to let by nearly three to one. Borrowing to buy a new property to rent dropped by 7.7 per cent to 4,800 for the 12 months to the end of February 2019. Remortgages were up 2.1 per cent with 14,400 loans agreed over the same term.
“While theoretically age should not be as big a concern for Buy to Let lenders as for a residential property, the reality is that it is still a factor and many borrowers do face upper age limits. When it comes to BTL mortgages, repayments aren’t usually covered by pension savings or work salary as with residentials. Instead, affordability will usually be determined by the expected rental income from tenants (alongside the usual factors such as loan to value and other individual circumstances).”
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Buy-to-let lenders are encouraging borrowers to stay in the market well into retirement as they lift age limits on mortgages. Figures from consumer group Which? suggest two out of three of the 2,057 deals available to landlords have a maximum age limit of at least 85 years old. Some go farther – with 9 per cent offering mortgages to borrowers up to 90 years old and a fifth without any age limit at all.
Age limits might still be a factor, but when it comes to determining whether a buy-to-let investment is affordable or not, many lenders will focus more on the rental cover than the age of the borrower. As long as borrowers can demonstrate that the monthly rent payable on the property is enough to cover mortgage repayments by between 125% and 145%, the investment will be determined as affordable.
With the population living longer, people are still wanting or needing to borrow money for a multitude of reasons. Now lenders aren’t standing in the way as the number of buy-to-let products available on the market is at its highest level since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007, with many of these products will be available to landlords requiring finance, regardless of their age.