Almost half (43%) of estate agents say the number of customers forced to sell to pay off interest-only mortgage debts has increased over the past two years.
The research by Key Partnerships also shows that mortgage debt issues are particularly affecting older customers trying to downsize, with 75% of ‘downsizers’ paying off mortgages.
Will Hale, director at Key Partnerships, said: “Selling up to pay off an interest-only mortgage can make financial sense but it is worrying if older homeowners are being forced to sell and are not aware of all their options.
“Estate agents are valued as a source of financial guidance and it is clear that those who can discuss equity release as an alternative to selling will be able to benefit from an additional revenue stream by referring potential clients to a specialist.”
Only 50% of estate agents believed they knew enough about the potential solutions to interest-only mortgage repayment issues, and more than half (52%) in the survey said they would be more likely to suggest equity release as a solution if they had a partnership with an independent expert adviser.
This comes as industry data shows around 10,000 borrowers a year between now and 2020 will come to the end of interest-only loans.