The number of first-time buyers over the age of 50 has soared by 30% in the past five years, according to new figures.
There were 12,000 first-time buyers over the age of 50 in 2022, making it one of the fastest growing age groups climbing onto the first rung of the property ladder, according to analysis of official figures by mortgage specialist Tembo.
The total number of first-time buyers has grown by about 1% each year, on average, since 2022, data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) shows. However, while the number of younger buyers and particularly those aged under 30 is falling, the number of buyers aged over 40 has risen by more than 7% each year since 2018.
The South West has the highest proportion (3.5%) of first-time buyers aged over 50, according to Tembo, whilst London has the lowest proportion in this age group, at 2.4%.
Even so, the capital has the fastest growing number of buyers aged over 50 in the UK, once home movers and landlords are factored in. Overall, first-time buyer purchases rose by 22% between 2018 and 2022, but the number of buyers aged over 50 rocketed by 64% over the same time period in London.
The total number of first-time buyers declined in Scotland and the West Midlands between 2018 and 2022. However, the number of first-time buyers over the age of 51 increased in these regions over the same period, at 8% in Scotland and 22% in the West Midlands.
By 2030 there could be as many as 19,000 first-time buyers aged over 50, or 5% of the total number, according to Tembo. This projection is based on the total number of first-time buyers remaining around the five-year annual average total of 360,000.
There are four main factors behind the growing number of people buying their first home in their 50s and beyond, according to Tembo: saving for a deposit is taking longer, the housing affordability crisis in the UK has increased, support from either a buying scheme such as Help to Buy or shared ownership or from family or friends, and an increasing number of mortgages that run into retirement.
Richard Dana, founder and chief executive of Tembo, said: “A perfect storm of factors impacting first time buyer affordability means we’re now seeing a sharp rise in the number of people waiting until they’re aged 50 or over before they buy their first home. This is presenting a challenge to both the financial services industry and would-be home buyers, with many traditional high-street lenders not offering extended mortgage loan terms beyond the age of 75.”
Getting a mortgage when you’re over 50
Getting a mortgage used to be much tougher the older you got, but lenders now offer a range of options to borrowers aged 50 and above. Lenders impose different age limits and terms, but some will offer mortgages into your 60s and 70s. You can read more about these in our guide Mortgages for over 50s: what you need to know. It’s a good idea to look at all your options so that you can be sure you’ve found the best deal for you.
Bear in mind, though, that whatever the age cut off a lender has, you’ll still be required to go through an ‘affordability assessment’. If you’re in your 50s or beyond, this may take into account any potential drop in income from retiring or reducing your working hours.
The length of the mortgage term you can get depends on the age at which you apply for your mortgage, and which lender you’ve chosen. Some may agree to lend to you until you reach the age of 80, which means that if you apply for a mortgage at the age of 60, you should be able to apply for a 20-year term.
How to get a mortgage over 50
If you’re not sure which mortgage deals you’ll be eligible for, or what age you can borrow up to, it’s worth speaking to a professional mortgage advisor. You can read more on why this might be a good idea in our guide Should I get advice on my mortgage?
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