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What are the Maximum Mortgage Terms?

No impact on credit score

Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: August 19, 2021

The average mortgage term in the UK is 25 years, but it’s often possible to get one longer than this and some lenders will even let you extend your mortgage during the term.

In our guide to maximum mortgage terms, you’ll learn what the longest terms available are, the implication of taking a longer mortgage, how to extend your mortgage and more.

What’s the longest mortgage term available in the UK?

The longest term length for a residential mortgage at the time of writing (June 2021) is 40 years, but there are a handful of specialist mortgage lenders who are known to offer retirement interest-only (RIO) mortgages with an even longer term than this.

The average mortgage term in the UK is 25 years and there are a few lenders who’d be reluctant to offer an agreement longer than this, but there are other mortgage providers who consider term lengths of up to 35 years, and a smaller number who stretch to 40 years.

Why get a longer term mortgage?

The main reason people choose to take out a mortgage with a longer term than 25 years is to make their monthly payments smaller. If the cost is spread out over a longer period, the amount due each month is obviously less than it would be on a shorter agreement.

This can be useful for anyone who wants to keep their outgoings to a minimum to help them save or have money freed up for other financial commitments. In these cases, a mortgage term of 30-40 years could be viable, as long as you don’t mind the idea of staying in your current property or having a mortgage to pay for several or more decades.

The main caveat of a longer mortgage term is that they usually cost more in the long run. This is because you will need to make interest and capital payments for the duration of the term, and an extra 5-15 years of them is likely to add up, despite the reduced cost of those lower monthly mortgage payments.

How to get a longer term mortgage

During the mortgage application process, your mortgage lender will discuss term length with you and give you the opportunity to request an agreement longer than 25 years. But there’s no guarantee that your lender of choice offers longer mortgage terms, so this can be risky.

You’ll need to find the right lender for this, first time, since being declined because a mortgage provider is unwilling to offer a longer-term agreement can leave marks on your credit report and potentially jeopardise any future applications for finance.

If you need a mortgage agreement that runs longer than 25 years, your best bet is to speak to a mortgage broker. They have access to the entire market and will know exactly which lenders offer 35-year mortgages, 40-year mortgages and longer deals for retired people.

How a mortgage broker can help you

A mortgage broker can help you get a longer-term mortgage by doing the following…

  • Searching the entire market for every deal with a longer term than 25 years
  • Matching your needs, age and personal circumstances to a longer-term mortgage deal and make sure you’re introduced to the right lender, first time
  • Explain the full implications of a longer-term mortgage to you and discussing potential alternatives, so you can rest assured that you’re making the right decision
  • Negotiating with the lender on your behalf to make sure you get the best rates
  • Guiding you through the application and giving you a hand with the paperwork

How age affects your mortgage term

The eligibility criteria for a longer-term mortgage isn’t really any different to one with a standard term, but some mortgage lenders are likely to place more scrutiny around your age if you’re looking for an agreement that runs for longer than 25 years.

This is because the mortgage provider will be mindful of the loan running into your retirement years. Most people’s income decreases at this point, so your lender will need to be confident that you can afford your mortgage payments in retirement.

A few lenders won’t offer you a mortgage if the term runs past your 70th birthday and a larger number of them draw the line at 75. There are, however, other mortgage providers who will have no issue with the term running past your 80th or even 90th birthday, and a small minority who will lend with no such age restrictions, under the right circumstances.

Moreover, there are a range of retirement mortgage options to consider for people who can’t qualify for a longer-term mortgage due to their age, such as RIO mortgages.

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Extending the length of an existing mortgage

It’s possible to extend the term of an existing mortgage by refinancing with your current mortgage lender or remortgaging with a new one. Whether you’re eligible for a term extension is very much at the lender’s discretion and they will reassess your affordability and eligibility to check whether anything has changed since you took on the original debt.

Some lenders won’t approve you for a term extension if…

  • You’ll be a certain age at the end of the term (70-90, depending on the lender)
  • You’re more than a month in arrears on your mortgage payments
  • You have an interest-only or a part-and-part mortgage
  • The property is currently being let
  • You have a guarantor mortgage
  • It’s a leasehold property with less than 50-55 years left on the lease
  • The total mortgage term doesn’t extend beyond the lender’s limit

To extend the term of your mortgage, you could simply contact your current lender to see whether you’d qualify for this, but a better alternative would be to talk to a broker first. They can search the entire market to find out whether there’s a better deal out there for you, in which case you could secure a longer agreement and a superior interest rate too.

Is it a good idea to extend your mortgage?

For some people it might be. If, for example, you’ve had to take a pay cut and are struggling to afford your mortgage payments, agreeing a term extension could bring down the amount due each month and make the debt more manageable. It could also be beneficial if you need to make some savings or simply want more disposable income in the immediate term.

There are major caveats to keep in mind, though. Obviously you’ll be saddled with your mortgage debt for longer, but let’s think about the full implications of this: paying interest over a longer period means paying more for your mortgage overall.

Some lenders will also allow you to change your term back to a lower term should your circumstances change or you deem it the right choice in the future.

It’s important to consider that the overall cost will be higher and ask yourself whether you’re happy with this as a consequence of having lower monthly payments.

How much does it cost to extend?

You may need to pay remortgage fees if you’re refinancing to extend your mortgage term. They can vary from person to person and lender to lender, but you can find a complete overview of the potential charges in our guide to remortgage costs and fees.

Extending the term on an interest-only mortgage

This is sometimes possible at the lender’s discretion and some people choose this option as a stop-gap solution if their repayment vehicle has faltered and the end of term is drawing near. See our guide to extending an interest-only mortgage term for more information.

Maximum term on a buy-to-let mortgage

Most buy-to-let mortgages come with a maximum term length of between 25 and 35 years, but there are mortgage providers who offer them with a term of 40 years, subject to the maximum age limit that borrowers can be at the end of the agreement.

Extending a buy-to-let mortgage

This can be more difficult as not all mortgage lenders will allow it, especially if there’s any doubt around your investment property generating rental income for the extended period. However, with the help of a broker who specialises in buy-to-let mortgages, your chances of finding a lender who will let you remortgage onto a longer-term deal could greatly increase.

Your application to extend your term will be assessed against the standard criteria, subject to age restrictions, and you’re unlikely to be approved if the total term exceeds 40 years.

Get matched with an expert mortgage broker today

It’s a good idea to speak to a mortgage broker if you’re planning to take out a longer-term mortgage or extend your mortgage term. Not all mortgage lenders offer agreements longer than 25-30 years and some have age restrictions that you might fall afoul of.

With the help of the right mortgage broker, though, you can avoid these pitfalls and rest assured that you’ll be introduced to the ideal lender, first time.

We offer a free-broker matching service that will take your needs and circumstances into account to pair you with the advisor who’s best placed to help. Call 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry and we’ll set up a free, no-obligation chat between you and them today.

FAQs

Is it easy to extend a mortgage term?

It can be a simple case of calling up your current lender to request this, and if there are no issues surrounding your eligibility, your chances of approval are likely to be good.

However, this is a good opportunity to find out whether there’s a better deal out there with a different lender. Having a mortgage broker carry out a whole-of-market search to confirm this can be equally quick, and you won’t have to lift a finger while they do it.

What’s more, if they find a more suitable mortgage deal with the term length you need, they will guide you through the remortgage process from start to finish.

What is the maximum term on a Help to Buy mortgage?

The maximum term on a mortgage taken out through the Help to Buy scheme is 35 years. This was increased from 25 years when the government revised the scheme in 2019.

For more information on Help to Buy, see our complete guide to Help to Buy mortgages.

Can I extend a fixed-rate mortgage?

Yes, extending a fixed-rate mortgage is possible but keep in mind that there might be exit fees to foot if you’re remortgaging onto a longer deal with a new lender. It may also be possible to switch to another fixed-rate deal with a longer term with your current lender.

Can I extend my mortgage term beyond my 65th birthday?

Yes, but your lender will need to be confident that you can continue to make your mortgage payments after this age, whether this is with your pension income or a job you’ll continue in. Lender age restrictions will also be a factor as some have a maximum age that you can be at the end of the term, with anywhere between 70 and 80 being standard.

There are, however, lenders with a higher maximum age than this and even some with no age restrictions at all, and the mortgage advisors we work with know who they are.

Is there a mortgage calculator I can use?

Yes, we have a mortgage calculator on our site that will show you the full implications of extending your mortgage term.

Simply set your mortgage balance and interest rate, and adjust the term accordingly to find out what effect this will have on your repayments.

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About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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