Diffusing the interest only-timebomb
Georgina Smith is managing director of Stonehaven
The interest-only mortgage timebomb is ticking loudly and will only get louder according to statistics revealed in the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) thematic review into interest-only mortgages, which was published earlier this year. The review revealed there are now 2.6m interest-only mortgages due for repayment by 2041. Worringly as many as 48% of those face a shortfall at repayment day, with an average figure of around £71,000. Even more worryingly, the review found that 260,000 (10%) borrowers have no repayment plan of any kind.Many of these borrowers believe they only have very limited options. Either they can hope that their mortgage provider does not notice that their mortgage term has ended and continue paying interest as they have always done, or they can sell their home. By downsizing to a smaller property they could afford to pay off the original mortgage. The first option, for obvious reasons, is unlikely and just not sustainable in the long term, while the selling up option is undesirable for many.
At the same time, recent figures from the think tank Demos have revealed that the UK’s over sixties are sitting on properties with a total value of £1.28 trillion – a massive figure, illustrating the potential of utilising property effectively to support the income of older homeowners and help those struggling for viable options when dealing with their interest-only mortgages.
A growing amount of our customers are older homeowners with interest-only mortgages who are faced with the problem of their own personal mortgage ‘timebomb’ and losing their homes if they do not have sufficient funds at the end of the mortgage term to pay off the remaining debt. An equity release lifetime mortgage can offer a solution to this, as it allows homeowners to unlock capital from their home whilst retaining ownership of their own home, negating the need to downsize. In fact, four in ten of Stonehaven customers are using lifetime mortgages for this purpose, an increase of over 10% since 2008. If you are sitting on a valuable asset why not use it to your adavntage?
A lifetime mortgage also means very little change from the customers current mortgage situation, as they can continue to make monthly interest payments as they have always done. However the customer no longer has to worry that their mortgage provider will come knocking on their door asking for the remaining debt.
There is a solution for older borrowers struggling to find ways of paying off their interest-only mortgage. The task facing us as an industry is making borrowers aware that the lifetime mortgage option is available to them and that if they do not want to downsize their home they do not have to – there is a solution available that can put an end to the ticking of this timebomb!