25 Aug 2015

The mid-life mortgage crisis

2:16 pm on 25 August 2015

Those in their fifties are finding it increasingly difficult to get a mortgage, a lobby group for older people says.

It is illegal to discriminate based on age, but Grey Power said it was having to help people who were in the final decades of their careers to get a mortgage, even if they had a good deposit.

Older man

Grey Power says older, working people can struggle to get loans. Photo: 123RF

Grey Power said people in their fifties who have had relationship break-ups, or been made redundant from their jobs, were being turned down for mortgages because they said the banks do not think they have enough working years left to pay the loan.

Grey Power spokesperson Anne Marie Coury said banks were presuming a person's career would be over by the time they turn 65.

"We know looking at the statistics that by the year 2030, 31 percent seniors over 65 will still be employed."

She said banks should look more closely at individual circumstances.

But chief executive of The New Zealand Bankers Association, Kirk Hope, said banks did look at individual borrowers, not just their age.

"The key criteria is serviceability, equity is only a minor part of it, sure we want to get people into the property market, but the responsible lending obligations means we don't want to put them in a situation where they can't afford to repay the loan."

Mr Hope said people having difficulty could ask their families to guarantee the loan.