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Rent woes leading to retirement worries

A new report from Halifax shows that delays in getting onto the housing ladder are leading to increasing worries about retirement for many.

The 2016 Generation Rent report found that one in three (34%) young people expect to work beyond retirement age to pay off their mortgage. Almost half (44%) are worried that they won’t be able to afford their mortgage payments in retirement while one in two (51%) are worried that paying their mortgage will hamper their ability to save for retirement.

Despite this, the report reveals that home ownership aspirations remain as strong as ever – and that those late to the ladder are taking a range of measures to ease the financial burden.


Halifax found that first-time buyers figures have recovered strongly in recent years, with 300,000 taking the first steps onto the property ladder in 2015. The average age of a first-time buyer is now 30.4 years – nine months older than in 2010.

Buying with a partner (49%) is the most likely measure a would-be first-time buyer is willing to consider to make owning a home more affordable. Extending a mortgage beyond 25 years is the second most likely measure (34%).

Against this backdrop, it is unsurprising that one in three (34%) young people don’t expect to pay off their mortgage until after their 60th birthday – more than one in 20 (6%) still expect to be paying their mortgage beyond the age of 70, while almost one in 10 (8%) expect to be paying their mortgage throughout their life.

Fewer than half of all respondents (46%) believe they will be mortgage-free before they retire, falling to just a third (30%) of non-homeowners.

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “Despite the barriers and the understandable concerns, it’s very positive to see that younger generations are still striving to get onto the housing ladder, with more than 300,000 taking that first step in 2015.

“This recovery has been fuelled by a number of factors, including an abundance of successful Government initiatives and the affordability of monthly mortgage repayments due to the continuing low interest rate environment and some very competitive deals.

“Although many of those late to the ladder will inevitably still be paying their mortgages later into life, they are increasingly taking a range of measures to ease the burden.”

The concerns of young people trying to get on the ladder have been well documented and the Generation Rent report has repeatedly shown that raising a deposit has been the consistent barrier for the majority of would-be homeowners.

However, the 2016 report tracks the emergence of high property prices being perceived as an increasingly large barrier to purchasing a first home (rising to 60% in 2016 compared to 52% in 2011). The average price of a first property is now £196,801, rising from £134,889 in 2010.

That said, just under a third of potential first-time buyers (31%) say that house prices won’t impact on their plans for home ownership, with a further 30% agreeing that they will not change their plans to purchase even though they expect prices to continue to rise.

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