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One fifth of over-55s still paying off mortgages

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Date: 14th March 2011

One-fifth of people aged over 55 still have a mortgage, and owe an average of £65,107.

Just 4% of the over-55s plan to use equity release, although the average amount of property equity for people aged over 75 is £246,190.

The figures come from Aviva’s latest Real Retirement Report which found around 21% of over-55s are still making repayments on their mortgage, and owe an average of £65,107.

Pre-retirees (55-64) are the most likely to still have a mortgage, with 29% still paying down this debt, compared to 14% of the retiring (65-74) and 9% of the long-term retired (75-plus).

The report shows that for those pre-retirees who still have a mortgage, the average amount owed stands at £64,504 and for the retiring it is £61,979.

However, for the long-term retired the amount of debt actually increases, to £78,125.

While a relatively small proportion of over-75s are still making mortgage repayments, these figures indicate they will find it challenging to repay this from what is likely to be a relatively fixed income.

Nevertheless, the average value of homes owned by the over-55s is £235,590, which is significantly higher than the UK average of £164,173 in January.

And the average amount of equity in their properties is £218,469 – rising to £246,190 for the long-term retired.

In terms of how they intend to repay their outstanding debts, the report found that 4% of over-55s are already planning to use equity from their home accessed via equity release and 6% are intending to sell their property and move to a smaller one.

Clive Bolton, the ‘at retirement’ director for Aviva, said: “Even though people are likely to have to work for longer, for many over-55s the likelihood is that they will spend much longer in retirement than any previous generation. “For those carrying mortgage debt into their retirement, the issue of how to repay the loan will inevitably come to the forefront when they finally do stop working. As such it is interesting to see just how much equity the over-55s have in their homes.

“With property values significantly higher than the national average, many of them are sitting on a substantial financial asset.” 

Paul Gillespie, Founding Partner at multi award winning Gibbs Gillespie said: “With retirement ages set to increase it is inevitable that many will still be paying mortgages well beyond the age of 55. This should not present a major issue providing a regular income is still being achieved. For those still owing money when retiring and without sufficient regular income, the options tend to revolve around either selling and downsizing or raising capital through an equity release scheme. Our advice is for people to take professional advice and explore all of the options open to them.” 

For further media information, please call Jo Ryan on 020 8869 9863.