Older Australians paying mortgages into retirement

More and more Australians are being forced to keep up their mortgages into retirement as the average mortgage debt for those over 55 reaches $185,000.

According to the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), average real mortgage debt for those aged 55+ increased from $27,000 in 1987 to over $185,000 in 2015.  This was an increase of over 600 per cent.

In 1987, only 14 per cent of older Australians were still paying off their mortgage but this had increased to 28 per cent in 2015. Over the period, average annual mortgage repayments tripled from $5,000 to $17,000.

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Rachel ViforJ, lead author of the AHURI report, said: “‘We’re seeing these older Australians’ mortgage debt burden increase from 13 per cent of the value of the average home in the late 1980s to around 30 per cent in the late 1990’s when the property boom took off, and it has remained at that level ever since. Over that time period, average annual mortgage repayments have more than tripled from $5,000 to $17,000 in real terms.’

This struggle to fund mortgage payments in retirement was causing increased stress levels and declines in wellbeing with females being particularly susceptible to mental health worries over their finances.

There were also problems for those who were renting their property with the future unmet demand for public housing from private renters aged 55+ expected to climb from 200,000 households in 2016 to 440,000 households in 2031.

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