Mortgages  

National Counties taps into pensioner market

The product has a maximum lending age of 80 – higher than the standard limit of 70 to 75 – and has been specifically designed to help those coming to the end of their mortgage rate with a small amount still to pay.

Interest rates are fixed at 3.99 per cent until 28 February 2022 and are available to those who need to borrow up to 60 per cent of the property value.

The early repayment charge is 5 per cent of the loan, but only applies for the first five years. It then switches to a standard variable rate of 4.79 per cent.

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It is available on a repayment basis only for remortgaging and calculates interest monthly.

REACTIONS

Provider view

Keith Barber, associate director of business development for National Counties Building Society, said: “There are more than 1.6m retired people with an outstanding mortgage in the UK and a further 600,000 with interest-only mortgages that are due to mature. We are trying to address this area with a mortgage that enables people to put in place a structured and affordable repayment plan with the comfort of known monthly repayments. We take our lending responsibilities seriously and our experienced underwriters individually assess each application. This approach enables us to look at each case on its merits. We are committed to offering solutions which will support existing homeowners at a time when family finances are under pressure.”

Adviser view

Anthony Badaloo, principal for Hertfordshire-based Church Hill Finance, said: “At first glance, this seems to be a good rate, in that it compares favourably with equity release products, which generally are well over 5 per cent. It is good to see that the market is adapting to the needs of over 2m people who are in retirement with a mortgage or have interest-only mortgages with no repayment vehicles in place. At 60 per cent LTV, this is on par with similar products. A 70-year-old taking out a £250,000 mortgage would see repayments of £2,530 per month. A high payment, but capital is being reduced, and beneficiaries such as children may well assist. The eligibility criteria are sketchy at present, and it would be interesting to see how National Counties works out affordability in this case. Overall, a very welcome and pioneering product, and we hope to see many more.”

CHARGES

Beside a fixed fee of £1095 there are no other explicit charges.

VERDICT

National Counties’s new product is a welcome addition to the UK mortgage market. With many older people unable to pay off mortgage debts while stuck on costly standard variable rates, this new launch could help those forced to sell up at the end of mortgage terms. Equity release provides another option, although rates can be high and require taking on more debt. Nowadays, given that life expectancy is increasing and people are stepping onto the property ladder much later in life, it is likely that other lenders will eventually catch onto this trend.