My wife and I want to buy a house, but can we get a mortgage in our mid-50s?

I am 56 and my wife is 54 – and finally, after saving. we are ready to buy a house.

However, mortgage brokers say that nothing is available due to our age. Is that correct?

We have a total income of € 85,000. In my role I can advise until the age of 70.

We will both have income from our respective private pensions when we retire, but ideally we would pay off the mortgage before we both retire. RP, vian e-mail.


Mortgage Help: In our new weekly column Navigate the Mortgage Maze, realtor David Hollingworth answers your questions.

David Hollingworth replies: The regulation that followed the credit crunch and ensuing financial crisis aimed to improve credit conditions in general, but later life life loans were certainly one of the key areas the Mortgage Market Review focused on.

In an ideal world, it makes sense to plan for every mortgage to be paid off by the time we retire.

Retirement income will typically be lower, so not having a mortgage will make monthly budgeting easier.

However, lenders tended to respond by tightening their criteria for lending to older borrowers. Where they may not have necessarily introduced specific age limits, many began to set a maximum age at the end of the mortgage term.

That didn’t stop the lender from considering a mortgage that lasted longer than the expected retirement age, but many put a cap of 70 or 75 at the end of the mortgage.

While this still allowed mortgages to be provided to older borrowers, it limited options, especially for those approaching the upper age limit.

Over time, mortgage lenders have tried to apply a little more flexibility to the maximum age they can take into consideration, recognizing that some older homeowners want the option of using a standard mortgage and are well equipped to manage monthly payment.

That has helped improve the range of options and while some lenders will still limit the maximum age at maturity to 75, others may now consider extending loans up to 80 or 85.

Others may go even further or have no maximum limit at all, and some have developed products specifically aimed at borrowers over 55.

For example, Marsden Building Society offers specific products aimed at borrowers over the age of 55 and may offer terms beyond the age limit that would apply to its standard products.

Also, a new type of product has been developed to offer an option that does not require a fixed mortgage term at all.

The Retirement Interest Only (RIO) mortgage offers borrowers the chance to borrow only on an interest-only basis and the mortgage is only repayable upon sale of the property, death or move to long-term care.

The maximum age need not be the only limiting factor. While lenders will have different approaches to the age, they will all need to be sure that the mortgage is affordable over the term.

Therefore, they will also want to understand that the level of income will be sufficient. There may also be more restrictions on the portion of the purchase price they will lend, which may require a larger down payment.

That income may include demonstrable retirement income if it is necessary to borrow after retirement. The shorter the term of the mortgage, the higher the monthly payments will be, which can affect affordability.

It may therefore be important to prove probable income not just now, but over the life of the mortgage. So collect as much documentation as possible about the expected retirement income.

After saving, the couple is ready to buy their own home, but mortgage brokers have said nothing is available to them due to their age

After saving, the couple is ready to buy their own home, but mortgage brokers have said nothing is available to them due to their age

This also applies to the RIO mortgage. A monthly installment will be required to pay the interest.

Because these are aimed at older borrowers, lenders will often also consider the event of someone’s death and how that will affect income to ensure that the mortgage remains affordable. That may limit its availability for some borrowers.

On the face of it, you currently have a good level of income, so it would make sense to consider further what limits your options.

It could be your age, but there may be some solutions available if affordability over the life of the mortgage can be demonstrated.

Some mortgage banks and specialist lenders are often strong in mortgage options for older borrowers.

Leeds Building Society can consider borrowing up to €85 at the end of the term and offers RIO mortgages. Smaller associations can also use a flexible approach.

Specialists such as Livemore and Hodge also offer a wider range of options for older borrowers than many mainstream lenders.



David Hollingworth is This is Money’s mortgage expert and broker at L&C Mortgages – one of the UK’s leading specialists.

He’s ready to answer your questions about your home loan, whether you’re buying your first home, trying to get a new mortgage amid the interest rate chaos, or planning further ahead.

If you would like to ask him a question about mortgages, please email with the subject line: Mortgage Assistance

Include as much detail as possible in your question so that he can respond in depth.

David will do his best to respond to your post in an upcoming column, but he won’t be able to reply to everyone or correspond privately with readers. Nothing in his answers constitutes regulated financial advice. Published questions are sometimes edited for brevity or other reasons.

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