Will you pay off your mortgage before you are 65? This new research may surprise you...

You'd better get saving

Paying a mortgage off as fast before retiring seems like a reasonable financial goal, but for one in six households this will not be the case.

Related: These lenders are now offering 15-year fixed rate mortgages

Research by financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown found that on average people expect to repay their mortgage by 57. However it also revealed that one in six homeowners will be  over 65 by the time they pay off their mortgage, or may never clear the loan.

This comes as a result off higher property prices and the trend for buying a home later in life, giving homeowners less time for paying a mortgage off before retirement.

When asked, 16 per cent of adults say they’ll be over 65 by the time the mortgage is finally paid off, this includes 5 per cent who didn’t believe they’d ever be mortgage-free.

exterior of wooden house with large window and garden area

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

The study found 16 to 34-year-olds to be more optimistic about when they can expect to be paying a mortgage off than older generations. 80 per cent of those with a mortgage in this age bracket believed they would be able to pay it off by the time they turn 65.

This youthful confidence might come from the fact that they have managed to buy a home relatively early in life. On the other hand, it could simply be optimism.

Sadly, the latter is more likely the case after research from the Financial Conduct Authority in 2017 forecast that 40 per cent of first-time buyers would still be repaying their home loans aged 65.

wooden floor house with arm chair and cushion

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

‘While the previous generation might be footloose and mortgage-free by their 50s, increasingly, we’re saddled with debts as we head into retirement,’ Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Landsdown, told the Daily Mail.

‘Higher property prices and more people in higher education mean we’re buying later and borrowing more for longer,’ she adds.

‘For some people, this is all part of a sensible long-term plan. They won’t reach state pension age until their late 60s, so they already plan to work past 65, and will still be able to afford their mortgage payments.

‘Even if they choose to retire earlier, they may find it perfectly manageable if they have generous pensions and can access low-interest rates on their small remaining mortgages,’ explains Sarah Coles.

wardrobe with telephone and lamp on it

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

However, she points out that some homeowners will end up as ‘victims of circumstance.’ They won’t be able to repay their mortgage by the time they retire and can’t work later in life or pay their mortgage from their pension.

‘These people could end up as one of the one in five who say they’ll never be able to repay,’ she says.

Related: New proposals could make 35-year-mortgage a reality for first-time buyers

Are you on track to pay off your mortgage before you turn 65?

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.