Agents warn over-55 lending rules hitting the housing market

Estate agents fear the lack of mortgage availability for over-55s will hit the wider housing market, a poll claims.

Research by equity release provider Key Partnerships, based on a survey of 104 estate agents, found 58% believe the current range of mortgages does not meet the needs of over-55s and two out of five believe the problems faced by older borrowers are having a knock-on effect in the housing market as a whole.

More than half (54%) want to see more action to help older customers borrow, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the poll found equity release should be seen as an option.

The study found that just 41% of estate agents are aware that equity release plans, which enable over-55 home owners to access existing property wealth, can be used for house purchases.

Key’s research shows around 63% of estate agents want to learn more about using equity release for house purchases, while around a third said they were regularly asked for information and guidance on equity release.

Will Hale, director at Key Partnerships, said: “The mortgage market is working to make it easier for the over-55s to borrow, with regulators and lenders recognising there is an issue which needs to be addressed.

“However, the fact remains that the experience on the ground is that it is still a major problem and the views of estate agents highlight how making it difficult for over-55s to borrow has a chilling effect on the housing market as a whole.

“Estate agents need to focus on solutions when assisting clients and it is clear that older customers would benefit from a wider range of options than offered in the mortgage market.”

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Written by: Houseladder