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Pensioner bankruptcy leaps sixfold

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  • 05/01/2011
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Pensioner bankruptcy leaps sixfold
The number of men and women aged over 65 declaring bankruptcy has increased six times in the last decade, according to the Insolvency Service.

Its figures revealed that UK pensioners are the fastest growing group of bankrupt individuals in the country, rising 50% quicker than any other age group.

Women over 65 have been particularly badly hit, with the rate of bankruptcy for this group soaring by over ten times between 2000 and 2009.

However, the level of bankruptcy in the over-65 age group is the lowest in the UK, with the average age of a bankrupt individual in the UK 41, close to the average of the population.

David Sheppard, managing director of Perception Finance, said that lenders were increasingly aware of the risk that older borrowers pose: “Lenders are already starting to control the age that a mortgage finishes so that it does not exceed 65. They are asking a lot more questions about pension arrangements and how the debt is structured, because a lot of people still have interest-only mortgages.

“It’s difficult to say whether this is a reaction to rising insolvency rates among pensioners or due to regulatory pressure.”

He added: “The big issue is the area of affordability, which will come under pressure with people getting onto the housing ladder later in life. This in turn could put a downward pressure on house prices.

“Personal insolvency rates remain relatively high, with numbers in 2009 the highest for 20 years.

Men make up the majority of bankrupts at 60%, yet female bankrupts are increasing, up from 29% in 2000 to 40% in 2009.

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