The whole question of age is something that has started to become more of an issue for borrowers and therefore mortgage brokers. One of the main thrusts of the Mortgage Market Review is that of assessing affordability, so for me, if a mortgage is deemed affordable whilst the borrower is employed or in retirement then surely the age of the borrower is irrelevant.
Given the changes in working habits, the fact that many more people are going to be working at least to the age of 70 if not beyond, there is no reason to impose an age limit, especially one governed by an anachronistic state retirement age of 65 found specifically where interest only policies are concerned.
There is no other way to term many lenders policies other than ageist, because the only thing stopping a lender from lending to an applicant who can clearly afford the loan is age. I understand there are fears lenders have that people are more likely to be ill, be forced to stop work or die, but this can happen at any time in a borrower’s life.
It was refreshing to see the proposed appointment of Ros Altmann as an older workers champion should the present government find themselves in power again after the next election and this is a step in the right direction.
What lenders need is firm guidance from the FCA to ensure that older borrowers are treated as fairly as everyone else and that age is never a deciding factor when determining whether to lend or not.