Data gathered by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has revealed that mortgage terms are, on average, getting longer. While a 25-year mortgage used to be the traditional term people would sign up for when buying a house, this is far from the case today. Instead, almost 60% of first-time buyers are choosing a mortgage term that will run longer than this.
It is not a reality that is limited to first-time buyers, either. While the figures are eye-opening in that sector, people who are re-mortgaging are also looking for longer terms. The same applies to those who are moving home.
How long has this pattern been in place for?
A graphic issued by the CML has shown the stark reality of the ever-increasing mortgage repayment term. With data shown from 2006 until the present day, the instances of longer repayment terms have gone up almost year-on-year, and have increased over the whole term in general.
Clearly, this is more than just a blip in the figures. Indeed, if we look at first-time buyers, a little over 30% of them took out extended mortgage terms back in 2006. According to the graphic, that figure has almost doubled in 10 years.
Similarly, just under 15% of those moving home in 2006 opted for longer repayment terms. Today, the figure stands at just over 35%. While re-mortgagors are at the bottom of the percentage tables, there has been a change here too. Around 5% opted for longer terms back in 2006, and today just shy of 20% do the same.
Why has this change occurred?
There are several reasons we can point to as the likely source of the change. Firstly, higher house prices are a major source of the struggle to get a mortgage. In years gone by, wages were more in line with affordability in regard to house prices. However, in recent times, property prices have soared while wages have largely remained stagnant. The two are now very far apart, causing concern for those who dream of owning their own properties. Clearly, a longer mortgage term is one of the few ways these people can have a chance to buy a house.
However, at the other end of the scale, people are living longer than they used to. Furthermore, since retirement ages have changed, many more people will be working longer that their forebears did. This, in theory, gives people more time to pay off a mortgage in later life than their relatives did in years gone by.
A huge cost
Of course, in extending the term of the mortgage, the homeowner will have to pay back far more than they would have done if they had been able to get a 25-year mortgage. The different can be stark, with many people paying tens of thousands more than they would have done with a more traditional 25-year mortgage.
However, with people squeezed financially and higher house prices adding to their woes, it is clear that longer mortgage terms are the solution if these people want to buy their own homes.