New freedom for buy-to-let pensioners
One lender will give the under-70s mortgages last 35 years, as advertising surfaces tempting pensioners to withdraw savings and invest in property
Access to buy-to-let for pensioners may be made easier Photo: ALAMY
By Nicole Blackmore
Buy-to-let lenders are reconsidering age restrictions in the wake of government plans to give pensioners unlimited access to their retirement savings.
Last week, a specialist buy-to-let firm amended its upper age limit, allowing anyone under the age of 70 to apply for mortgages lasting up to 35 years.
Henry Jordan, managing director of The Mortgage Works, part of Nationwide Building Society, said his firm had recognised that buy-to-let was becoming a more popular source of retirement income.
"The recent Budget announcements could see even more considering buy-to-let as an option for their retirement savings," he said.
Other firms are advertising new specialist schemes to tempt pensioners to withdraw all their savings and invest in property.
One firm, Select Property, sells student accommodation to investors and then sublets it on their behalf. In an advertisement it claims investors will receive a guaranteed minimum return at the end of each academic term.
Plans announced in the Budget by George Osborne, the Chancellor, will allow savers to withdraw their entire pensions at 55, rather than take the money slowly as an annual income. The new rules will be introduced in April 2015.
In the days following the Budget, commentators speculated that some future pensioners would put pension savings towards property – either paying off mortgage debt or investing in buy-to-let property.
As an ageing population is given access to larger lump sums, lenders are reconsidering their typical 65 to 75 age limit on borrowing. This has been a major restriction on older borrowers investing in buy-to-let.
The Mortgage Works, which offers mortgages through brokers, has previously capped lending to age 75 for first-time landlords and 90 years for experienced buy-to-let investors.
Now the lender will allow applications until age 70 for a maximum term of 35 years.
Interest-only borrowers who will have a shortfall at the end of their mortgage are also hoping that the pension changes will encourage lenders to be more flexible at the end of their term.
Many have been denied new loans or forced on to higher rates or repayment mortgages. Interest-only lenders have said it is too early to make any decisions.