Of those borrowers, almost four in 10 are aged 65 to 74, while over half are aged 75 or over.
The research also found that the growth in unsecured debt is higher among the over-75s than any other age group. It claimed that average unsecured debt jumped from £162 in 2006-08 to £487 in 2012-14, an increase of 201%, while the over-85s saw debt jump 218%, from £36 to £115 over the same period.
Older borrowers needing to deal with their interest-only debts has been a key driver in the growth of equity release business of late, with equity release described as a ‘lifeline’ for borrowers with no other repayment plan.
Dave Harris, managing director of more 2 life, said that demand for “alternative later life lending” has the potential to double the size of the equity release market this year alone.
He continued: “For advisers, these borrowers represent an area of the market that needs advice on what to do as their mortgages near maturity. Advisers will be crucial in identifying if equity release can help their clients and this is an opportunity for them to expand their offering to clients. If advisers don’t feel comfortable in taking on the case, then they can refer them to an equity release specialist to ensure they get the help they need and will be beneficial for all parties involved.
“The interest-only issue is not going to go away and as our research shows advisers and lenders need to work together in the interests of our sector and our customers.”