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Buy-to-let watch: Adapting to an ageing population

There are always a variety of trends to follow in the housing market. In recent years we have seen large-scale house price fluctuations, regional housing bubbles, ageing first-time buyers, a buy-to-let boom and landlords reassessing the merits of their product portfolio. We have even seen a flurry of property raffles take place as sellers struggled to achieve the prices they expected for their homes.

Some of these trends are driven by supply and demand dynamics within the housing and mortgage markets and others influenced by factors way beyond them. The fact that the UK population is living longer can hardly be classed as a new trend, but it is one which is really starting to make an impact on products and criteria throughout the private rented sector and the whole lending community.

In recent weeks we have seen statistics outline that over-50s accounted for 15 per cent of rented households so far this year, up from just 11 per cent in 2012. The Hamptons International’s Monthly Letting Index also showed that nearly a third of this group were suggested to be pensioners and it was estimated that over-50s have rented 791,580 homes in Great Britain in 2019, 61 per cent more than in 2012 (490,450) and 8.2 per cent more than last year.

Data from Commercial Trust Limited revealed that there has been a surge in the number of older BTL investors during 2018. In addition, Knowledge Bank highlighted that May saw a significant rise in the number of searches from intermediaries looking for later life lending options. For BTL, the top searches were lending to limited companies, first-time landlord and the requirement to be a homeowner.

It appears that renters are getting older, BTL investors are getting older and residential borrowers are also getting older – so, how is the market adapting?

Mortgage terms have crept up, with some lenders extending their maximum age restrictions to meet the shifting needs of older borrowers. This is also the case in the BTL sector where maximum ages at the end of product terms have risen, and in some cases have been lifted altogether.

These are moves which also highlight how important the advice process is for those advancing in their years, and this is not only attached to their personal investment or housing requirements. With more and more children looking to their parents and even grandparents for financial support in their property purchases, this is an area which is only going to get even more complex in the coming years as more lenders in the residential and BTL markets adjusting their offerings accordingly.

June BTL rates

Rate MAX LTV % Description Arrangement Fee Rent Cover ERC
1.59% 60%

Leeds Building Society

2 year tracker

£500k max. loan


Free valuation

140% @ 5.5%

3% in Yr 1

2% in Yr 2

1.69% 75%

Post Office

2 year fixed

£500k max. loan


Free valuation

145% @ 5.5%

3% in Yr 1

2% in Yr 2

1.89% 60%


3 year fixed

£500k max. loan


£250 cashback

145% @ 5.5%

3% in Yr 1

2% in Yr 2

1% in Yr 3

1.99% 60%


5 year fixed

£350k max. loan


£500 cashback

145% @ 5.5%

5% in Yr 1

4% in Yr 2

3% in Yr 3

2% in Yr 4

1% in Yr 5

2.28% 75%

Virgin Money

5 year fixed

£1m max. loan


£500 cashback

145% @ 5%

4.5% in Yr 1

4.5% in Yr 2

4.5% in Yr 3

4.5% in Yr 4

4.5% in Yr 5


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