Mortgages for older borrowers
Compare deals and learn everything you need to know about getting a mortgage as an older borrower.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Getting a mortgage as an older person can be a bit more tricky, but there are plenty of options available. To understand exactly where you stand, speak to one of our expert mortgage brokers about older borrower mortgages.
Can I get a mortgage as an older borrower?
You can still get a mortgage when you’re older. Mortgages for over 50s and over 60s are common, but your options might be more limited compared to younger borrowers.
This is because it can be harder for lenders to be confident you can afford the repayments as you approach retirement. They want to see that you have a reliable and steady income, which might not be the case once you stop working.
If you want to remortgage to release equity from your existing property, there are equity release products specifically designed for older borrowers that can help you do that.
However, if you’re looking for a new residential mortgage, you will need to check the lender’s eligibility criteria. Most set an age limit on when you must pay the mortgage back or when you can apply.
What’s the maximum age to get a mortgage?
There is no set legal limit on the maximum age to apply for a mortgage. However, most lenders do set limits as part of their lending criteria, for example:
Maximum age to take out a mortgage: 65 to 80
Maximum age when the mortgage ends: 70 to 90
That means that, even if you are young enough to take out a mortgage, you may have to agree to a shorter term to ensure you’re below the maximum age limit when the term ends.
Some lenders will set limits for both, but some don’t set any age limits at all. You should speak to a broker who can help you find lenders with age limits that work for you.
What mortgages are available for older borrowers?
There are several mortgage options available to you as an older borrower. Which is right for you will depend on why you want a mortgage and your financial situation.
It is possible to get a standard residential mortgage product as an older borrower, but only if you can meet the lender’s criteria. This means being below their age limits and passing their affordability checks.
Here are the main types of residential mortgages you could get:
Fixed-rate mortgages: This type of mortgage means your interest rate and repayment stay the same for a fixed time. The most common deals are 2-year and 5-year fixed rates, but you can get longer terms, including 10-year deals. These offer security and stability but could mean you miss out on lower rates if the market changes.
Variable-rate mortgages: This type of mortgage has a rate that changes in response to either the Bank of England base rate or the lender's Standard Variable Rate (SVR). The main types of variable mortgages are discount mortgages and tracker mortgages.
If you want to release equity from your home rather than buy a new property, an equity release product can help you do that. These are generally designed for older borrowers and let you access money tied up in your home. Here are the main options to release equity:
Lifetime mortgage: This is a way to release equity from your home as a lump sum. You can get one if you’re over 55, and they borrow money against the value of your property, which you don’t need to repay before you die.
Home reversion: Here, you agree to sell a percentage of your property for a lump sum or regular payments. You can remain in your home for as long as you live or until you move out. You will likely receive below market value for the part of your property you sell.
Retirement interest-only mortgage (ROI): These are similar to lifetime mortgages as they allow you to borrow a tax-free lump sum against your property, but the difference is that you will need to make monthly interest payments.
With all equity release products, you only need to repay the balance of the loan once the property is sold. This is usually after you have passed away or moved into long-term care.
Why is it harder to get a mortgage when you’re older?
When mortgage lenders are deciding if they should lend to you, the most important thing they check is whether or not you can afford the loan.
As you get older and approach retirement age, your income can become less reliable. If you retire during the mortgage term, you will no longer have a regular salary, and it’s likely that your income will go down.
Most people receive less from their pension than they did while in work, making covering mortgage payments difficult. Lenders also have to consider how likely it is that you will pass away before you can repay the mortgage.
This is why most lenders set maximum age limits or only offer you a mortgage over a shorter term. However, if you can prove your affordability and meet all the other eligibility criteria, getting a residential mortgage as an older borrower is still possible.
How to get a mortgage as an older borrower
Your ability to get a mortgage for older people will depend on what you want the mortgage for. If you want to release equity, you should be able to do this as long as you have money tied up in your property to release.
If you want a new mortgage to buy a property or to remortgage to a new deal, it can be difficult but not impossible. Here’s what you can do to improve your chances:
Boost your affordability: Show lenders you can afford to repay the mortgage by providing pension projections if you’re going to retire during the term. Try to clear any debts you have to reduce your outgoings, as this will improve your affordability.
Check your credit score: The lender will perform a hard check on your credit record as part of the application process. A good score will give you a better chance of being accepted, so check your score before you apply and take steps to improve it before you apply.
Apply for a short term: Reducing the term over which you repay the mortgage will help your chances of getting accepted. Be aware that this will mean your repayments each month will be higher, but you’ll pay off the loan sooner and potentially pay less interest overall.
Put down a bigger deposit: Putting down a larger deposit reduces the risk for the lender because it means you own more equity in the property, improving your chances.
Our expert says...
“If you’re looking for a mortgage as an older borrower, your options might be a bit more limited, but finding a deal that works for you is still possible.
Equity release is a popular option as you get older, but it’s a good idea to talk through the process with an expert first. Our brokers can help guide you through your options and help you find the right mortgage for you.”
Mortgages for older borrowers FAQs
There is no set age where you’re considered an older borrower, but typically, the age limit for mortgages is between 70 and 90.
It varies between lenders, so some may consider you an older borrower, but not others. The mortgage term you want will also influence whether or not you’re eligible.
For example, if you’re 60 and want a mortgage over a full 25-year term, you won’t be eligible with a lender whose upper age limit is 75. However, you could get a mortgage with a lender with an upper limit of 85.
You can get a mortgage when you’re retired, provided you can prove to the lender that you can cover the repayments.
You must prove you have enough money coming in through your pension to pass their affordability checks. You can boost your chances by putting down a large deposit, which will reduce the size of the mortgage you need and give the lender more security.
You may also need to borrow the money over a short period to avoid exceeding the lender’s age limits. You will also need to meet the rest of their lending criteria, including passing a credit report check.
It is possible to get a buy-to-let mortgage as an older borrower, and most have similar age limits to residential mortgages.
When applying for a buy-to-let mortgage, you still need to prove to the lender that you have sufficient income to cover the payments. However, they may be more lenient as you should receive a rental income from the property, which can be used to cover your mortgage payments.
Equity release is a way of releasing cash from your home without needing to move out. The equity you hold in your property is what you own outright and can be roughly calculated by subtracting your outstanding mortgage balance from the market value.
For example, if your home is worth £400,000, and you have £150,000 left to pay on your mortgage, the equity you hold would be £250,000.
The money is usually only repaid to the equity release provider when your home is sold when you have passed away or moved into long-term care.
The mortgage term you can get as an older borrower will depend on your age and the age limits the lender sets.
For example, if a lender’s maximum age is 85 years old and you are applying for a mortgage at 65, they could offer you a term of 20 years. However, if their age limit was 75, you could only get a ten-year mortgage term.
Other lenders do not set an age limit, so you could get a mortgage with them for a full term of 25 or even 30 years, regardless of age.
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Important info & marketing claims
You may have to pay an early repayment charge to your existing lender if you remortgage. Your savings will depend on personal circumstances.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
*The savings figure of £420 is based on Better.co.uk remortgage customers in October 2023. Read more on our marketing claims page.
We can't always guarantee we will be able to help you with your mortgage application depending on your credit history and circumstances.
Average mortgage decision and approval times are based on Better.co.uk's historic data for lenders we submit applications to.
Tracker rates are identified after comparing over 12,000 mortgage products from over 100 mortgage lenders.
As of January 2023, Better.co.uk has access to over 100 lenders. This number is subject to change.
For buy-to-let landlords, there's no guarantee that it will be possible to arrange continuous letting of a property, nor that rental income will be sufficient to meet the cost of the mortgage.