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Can renting over 50s get on the housing ladder?

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It’s not just the so-called “Generation Rent” who can’t afford to buy. A third of people aged 50 and above are renters, according to research by Saga.

Divorce is cited as one reason for the increasing numbers - the figure was 25% just five years ago – with one in five renters over 50 single and trying to get back on the housing ladder a second time. Widowers are less likely to be renting though, with figures down by 10% since 2011.

And like young people, increasing house prices can make it difficult to afford a home to buy. 

Buying a home when you’re over 50

One challenge older home buyers might find is getting a mortgage in their later years. Historically, mortgage lenders haven’t been keen to offer mortgages that would be paid back after retirement. The risk being if you’re not earning, how will you pay off the mortgage?

Most lenders have a maximum age of between 65 and 75 that the mortgage must be paid off. However, there are now a small number of products available to people that can be paid off as late as 80 years old – while some specialist mortgage brokers might be able to find even later cut-offs.

Can you afford a mortgage?

Though it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get one. As well as various terms and conditions, the same lending rules apply whatever your age. It’s worth reading up on the affordability checks that were introduced in 2014.

You’ll need proof of a retirement income. That could be your pension, or, now many of us are – or at least expect to be – working for far longer than the traditional cut off for retirement, wages should help demonstrate you can manage the repayments. But the lenders will also look at how you spend your money and how you’d cope if you couldn’t work.

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Other costs to consider

It's not just the deposit and monthly repayments you need to afford. Stamp Duty is another big cost, while solicitor fees and moving costs will add up too.

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