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Financial Institutions in Ireland Extend Mortgage Repayment Terms to Age 80

Dublin: In a significant shift for the Irish mortgage market, financial institutions are preparing to offer mortgage repayment terms that extend until the age of 80. New entrants to the market have already initiated this policy, with MoCo, owned by Austrian bank Bawag, advertising loan repayment terms up to 80 years for its Irish customers. Shortly after, ICS Mortgages announced a similar policy, sparking competition and prompting leading financial institutions to consider extending their loan repayment periods.

Extended Mortgage Terms Reflect Longer Life Expectancy

The extension of mortgage terms is partly driven by increasing life expectancy, which has led to longer periods for education, career establishment, marriage, family formation, and home purchasing. Current mortgage repayment terms typically extend up to the age of 70, but financial institutions are now offering more flexible options. According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the average age of mortgage applicants has risen from 33 in 2010 to 43 in 2021, necessitating longer loan repayment periods.

Adjusting to Higher Property Prices

Traditional loan repayment periods are around 20 years. However, with rising property prices across the country, a more realistic repayment timeline is now 25 to 30 years. Consequently, many applicants may be in their 70s before fully paying off their mortgages.

Changes for First-Time Buyers and Single Applicants

The Central Bank has recently implemented changes allowing divorced individuals and those living alone to be considered first-time home buyers, increasing demand for first-time buyer schemes such as the Local Authority Home Loan and First Home Scheme.

Requirements for Extended Repayment Terms

Applicants, whether aged 60 or nearing 80, must demonstrate their ability to repay the mortgage by the end of the term. This may involve showing income from dividends, sale of shares, rental income from investment properties, pensions, or other ancillary income. Banks assess each mortgage application based on the applicant’s financial circumstances and repayment capacity, both before and after retirement. Mortgage protection and life protection are also required for applicants.

Benefits for Younger Borrowers

Anticipating interest rate cuts from the European Central Bank, some lenders have already reduced their rates. Younger consumers stand to benefit the most from lower interest rates and extended maturities, potentially seeing significant reductions in their mortgage repayments if more banks implement these schemes.

This evolution in the mortgage market reflects a broader trend of financial institutions adapting to the changing demographics and economic realities of modern life, offering greater flexibility and support to home buyers across Ireland.

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