Could a 50-year mortgage be the answer to unaffordable properties in the UK?

According to press reports, the government is considering plans to introduce a 50-year mortgage that can be passed onto children when the original homeowner dies.

It’s an arrangement already popular in Japan and would mean people could buy a home without expecting to repay the loan during their lifetime.

On death, the property and outstanding mortgage debt would be passed to their children.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “certainly” considering the introduction of cross-generation mortgages, such as a 50-year mortgage.

A move towards these longer-term mortgages comes after borrowing declined by 36% in April, as the housing market continued to lose momentum.

The existing mortgage scheme in Japan has led to 100-year mortgages being granted, but mortgage experts are less optimistic about their application in the UK property market.

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Speaking about the mortgage idea, the Prime Minister said:

“I do think there’s a lot more scope to help people with 95% mortgages, there are quite a few products available now, which we’ve tried to encourage.

“But also, we want to find all sorts of creative ways to help people into ownership.

“Last year, actually, we had 400,000 first-time buyers, that’s a great number, we’re starting to turn the tide, but it is crucial for this government and for our overall economic story if those numbers continue to be strong.

“We need young people to have the confidence, to have the deposits, the mortgage packages to be able to get into ownership.”

Responding to the suggestion, the Bank of England said it was open-minded about much longer mortgage terms.

At a press conference, Bank governor Andrew Bailey said, “Our approach is that we will support and engage in any process which wants to envisage innovation in the market.

“It’s something we would certainly support a review of to see what is possible in the market. If it comes forward we will certainly play our part in it.”