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Later life debt calls for innovation from lenders, report says

  • 24/06/2019
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Later life debt calls for innovation from lenders, report says
The levels of debt among over-55s are rising fast and property wealth should be used when planning for retirement, a new report showed.


The research by Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), with equity release lender More 2 Life, revealed that levels of debt among the over-55s will reach £295bn this year.

Debt among this age group is expected to rise 86 per cent to £548bn by 2029.

Dave Harris, More 2 Life chief executive said that the findings “show that ignoring property wealth is no longer an option when planning for retirement.”

“The industry needs to work collectively to break down the perceived barriers and to develop products that are attractive, flexible and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population,” said Harris (pictured).


The debt forecast


Debt among the over-55s will have risen even more sharply in the 10 years between 2014 and 2024, up 99 per cent to £397bn. At present, 14 per cent of over-55s have a mortgage on their property and of these, 68 per cent are repayment mortgages and 23 per cent are interest-only.

The drivers of later life debt include the rising number of older households, house price increases and higher use of unsecured credit.

Among the over-65s, debt is forecast to reach £91bn in 2019 and to rise by 117 per cent to £199bn in 2029.

“Our forecasting found that there will be a significant increase in the amount of debt among people at or near retirement age during the next 10 years,” said Josie Dent, CEBR senior economist.”

“A decade of fast-rising property prices means that many people cannot afford to buy a house until they are in their thirties or forties. Therefore a rising number of people will enter retirement with mortgage debt still to pay off,” Dent added.

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