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Over 50 and buying property? Here's what you need to know about home loans

For many, the dream of owning a home doesn't retire at 50. In fact, entering the later stages of life can be an ideal time to reassess financial portfolios, consider investing in property, or even buy your first home. However, securing a mortgage after 50 comes with its own set of challenges and considerations. At My Mortgage, we regularly assist clients across a broad age spectrum, from enthusiastic first-time buyers in their 20s to seasoned investors who are well into retirement.

One of the most common concerns we hear from clients over 50 is, "Am I too old to get a mortgage from a bank?" This question arises as traditional lending terms and retirement ages seem to clash. But what does "too old" mean in the context of bank loans, and how does it affect your ability to secure financing? Let's delve into these questions and explore some strategies to increase your chances of obtaining a home loan later in life.

Understanding Bank Perspectives on Age and Loan Terms

In New Zealand, the typical maximum loan term offered by banks is 30 years. However, once an individual reaches the age of 50, banks might begin to adjust these terms. For instance, they might propose reducing the term to 25 years based on the assumption that most people have around 20 years of working life remaining. This reduction is primarily because banks need to ensure that the loan can be serviced until its maturity without financial strain on the borrower.

Key Factors Banks Consider for Older Applicants

The most crucial factor for banks when assessing older applicants is income stability. They need to see consistent and reliable income streams that will last through to the end of the loan term. For retirees or those approaching retirement who might be planning to reduce their working hours, demonstrating this can be challenging.

However, there are several mitigating factors that can be considered:

  • Property Portfolio: If you own multiple properties, such as a beach home, a personal residence, and an investment property, you can leverage these assets. Banks might extend the loan term if there are plans to sell one of the properties to repay the debt in the near future.

  • Additional Income Sources: Income from investment properties, pensions, or other consistent and reliable sources can reassure banks of your financial stability.

  • Family Support: Involving younger family members in the property investment can also be beneficial. Their longer income horizon and potential financial contribution can make the proposal more appealing to lenders.

Challenges and Solutions

Despite a strong financial position, long-term customers of a bank might find themselves facing rigid lending criteria that do not account for individual loyalty. This can be frustrating, especially when alternative lenders may offer more flexible terms. Similarly, other industries, such as utilities, often provide more competitive rates to new customers, a practice that can feel unfair to loyal users.

Practical Tips for Older Applicants Seeking Mortgages

  1. Assess Your Financial Health: Before applying, take a close look at your finances. Ensure your income sources are stable and likely to continue for the duration of the loan term.

  2. Consider Downsizing: If maintaining a larger property is no longer practical, downsizing can reduce financial strain and free up equity.

  3. Review Your Property Portfolio: If you own multiple properties, consider how they can be optimized to support your application. Selling a property to reduce debt can be a strategic move.

  4. Get Professional Advice: Consulting with a mortgage advisor can provide personalized strategies based on your specific financial situation and goals.

At My Mortgage, we understand that each client's situation is unique, especially as they age. We’re here to help navigate the complexities of securing a mortgage after 50, offering tailored advice and support. Whether you're looking to invest in property or buying a home later in life, it's absolutely possible with the right planning and advice.

Feel free to reach out and discuss your mortgage needs. We're more than happy to assist you in reviewing your situation and exploring the best options for securing a mortgage as a mature buyer.


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