Mortgage woes grow for older house owners

Julian Harris
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THE NUMBER of over-60s struggling to keep up with mortgage payments is on the rise, a leading counselling group said this morning, while separate figures show that people hoping to buy a home are being squeezed out of the <a href="/house-prices">property market</a>.

Among people who have a mortgage, an inability to keep up with payments is increasingly hitting those over 60 years of age.

The number of over-60s seeking advice due to trouble with mortgage arrears has rocketed by 44 per cent since 2009, the debt charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) announced this morning.

Across all other age groups, there has only been a three per cent rise in people contacting the charity for help, the CCCS said.

The trend “is particularly worrying given the current low interest rates”, said Delroy Corinaldi from the charity. “With many older people taking higher levels of debt with them into retirement, this could be the start of a long-term trend towards far higher levels of mortgage difficulty in later life.”

Over a thousand older people with mortgage arrears visited the CCCS last year, it said, with the average arrears found to be an eye-watering £4,375.

“Clients [were] an average of six and a half months behind with their mortgage payments last year,” the report said.

And at the other end of the market, people are finding themselves stuck in the rental sector.

At the beginning of this year the number of properties coming to market for resale was down by 2.53 per cent on the same time in 2011, data from information collator Experian showed yesterday.

Hopeful first time buyers are increasingly forced to rent, analysts say, boosting the rental market. The number of properties advertised for rent between January and March was up 6.34 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The trend is exacerbated in London, according to the Experian figures. “The capital saw 35,789 properties to let, almost double the number of properties put up for sale (19,996) and making up 20 per cent of all rental properties in the UK,” the report said.