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The number of people aged 50 to 69 looking for a mortgage has skyrocketed. Legal & General Mortgage Services said that in the first quarter of 2024, there was a 13% increase in people aged 56 to 65 looking to move into home ownership, compared to the same period last year.

But Sir Steve Webb, a former pensions minister who is now a partner at LCP (Lane Clark & Peacock), cautioned that some home buyers could be gambling with their retirement prospects by taking on ultra-long mortgages.

Kevin Roberts, managing director, Legal & General Mortgage Services, said: “Our figures show that the desire to own a home remains strong, even for those who are waiting longer to take those first steps on to the property ladder. As affordability begins to ease, we’ll likely see further activity in the first-time buyer market, especially if inflation continues to fall and the Bank of England reduces its base rate later in the year.

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“There are a number of factors likely to be impacting people’s decisions to buy a property. High rental prices may encourage some customers toward home ownership. Equally, as mortgage rates decreased at the start of the year, customers who had been waiting for the right time to buy may have found products which are more affordable.”

Emily Shepperd, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chief operating officer, recently said in a speech: “Alongside longer terms we also see a greater proportion of mortgages projected to mature around state retirement age. The projected median age of a first-time buyer at maturity is now 65 years old, up from 56 in 2005.

“The proportion of mortgage customers over 67 is currently less than 2% of all loans. By 2040 this rises to 5%, and by 2050 it is almost 10%. Lending into retirement is moving from a niche to a norm.”

Karina Hutchins, UK Finance principal for mortgage policy, said: “When reviewing new mortgage applications, lenders will act within the responsible lending rules set by the Financial Conduct Authority and carefully consider whether the borrower will be able to afford their mortgage in the future.

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