Mortgages  

Saffron scraps lending age limits

Saffron scraps lending age limits

Saffron Building Society has announced its lending age limit of 75 will now be overridden and judged on a case-by-case basis.

Borrowers will still be subject to lenders’ rules, so the loan needs to be affordable, within the loan-to-value criteria, and there must be a suitable repayment method in place.

A statement from the society said that if someone can afford a mortgage up to the age of 100 and it is reasonable to expect that their income won’t change – due to investments, pension, royalties, etcetera – and the loan will be repaid fully, or there will be other ways to repay the loan if it is interest-only, then they should be able to obtain a mortgage regardless of age.

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Saffron is the latest in an increasingly long line of regional building societies to change their lending criteria for older borrowers in recent months.

At its annual conference in May, seven months after it published a report on the issues faced by older borrowers, the Building Societies Association said more than half its members would now lend to borrowers up to or beyond the age of 80.

That same month, Nationwide’s move to increase its maximum age for mortgage maturity was seen as a substantial step forward, although several of Britain’s biggest banks refused to be drawn into a mortgage age limit competition.

Islay Robinson, chief executive at broker Enness Private Clients, said Saffron’s changes could mean people have the potential to borrow up to the age of 100, addressing the fact that people are living longer and finance is required longer-term.

He added: “We have had clients who, despite having strong pension funds and extensive background assets, have been denied a mortgage simply because of their age, so this is a big step forward in the approach towards lending into retirement.”

peter.walker@ft.com