Surge in older people struggling with mortgages
Debt charity the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) has said that the number of elderly people seeking help with mortgage debts has increased.
According to figures published by the charity, there has been a 44% rise in the number of over-60s looking for help since 2009, compared with just a 3% rise across all age groups. With millions of older people planning to fund their care with the equity they have accumulated in their property, the importance of staying on top of repayments is clear.
The figures have prompted the CCCS to call on family members to be proactive in seeking advice if an elderly parent or relative is struggling with their mortgage payments.
In 2011, the CCCS received 5,719 requests for help from over-60s unable to pay back their mortgage debt. The average mortgage arrears increased from £3,556 in 2009 to £4,375 last year. Clients were an average of six and a half months behind with their payments.
Delroy Corinaldi, CCCS director of external affairs, said the trend needs to be watched closely, and it is particularly worrying given the current low interest rates.
He stated: "With many older people taking higher levels of debt with them into retirement, this could be the start of a long-term trend towards far higher levels of mortgage difficulty in later life.
"Family members have a key role to play. If a parent or grandparent is struggling to cope with their mortgage costs or other debts, the best thing to do is to help them seek free advice from a debt charity as early as possible."
Michelle Mitchell, charity director-general of Age UK, urged anyone struggling with debts to get in contact with those who can offer support. She said the figures were alarming, but people should not be afraid to seek information or help when they need it.