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11 Apr 2019

Nationwide launches interest-only mortgages for retired homeowners

Retirement interest-only mortgage market given a boost by the UK's biggest building society

Older borrowers will have more options for funding their retirement as Nationwide has announced a new later-life lending range.

Nationwide is the first big player to join the growing number of smaller building societies to have launched retirement interest-only (RIO) mortgages in recent months.

The Which? Recommended Provider says its new products are part of a plan to 'address the needs of a changing and ageing population'.

But how do its interest-only mortgages work, and are their rates the best on the market?

What are Nationwide's new later-life mortgage options?

Nationwide has launched three new products:

  • a RIO mortgage;
  • a repayment mortgage;
  • and a lifetime mortgage.

These options are available to borrowers aged between 55 and 85.

Currently, only people with an existing Nationwide mortgage can apply, but the building society says it will make the products more widely available this summer.

Nationwide's retirement interest-only mortgage

Much like a regular interest-only mortgage, a retirement interest-only mortgage allows you to pay off just the interest each month, as opposed to the actual mortgage balance.

As is often the case with RIO mortgages, Nationwide's offer is repayable upon your death or when you move into long-term care, at which point your house will be sold to cover the loan.

You must be receiving a pension to be eligible for Nationwide's RIO mortgage, which has a maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 50% and a maximum loan amount of £500,000.

Nationwide's later-life repayment mortgage

As with the RIO mortgage, this deal has a maximum LTV of 50% and a maximum loan of £500,000. Again, you need to be receiving a pension.

However, this is a capital and interest repayment mortgage, so you'll be paying off both the interest and the mortgage balance throughout its term.

This could make monthly payments more expensive, but it does mean your descendants might not have to sell your home when you pass away.

Nationwide's lifetime mortgage

Nationwide's lifetime mortgage is an equity release product. The maximum loan amount depends on your age and your property's value.

Like the RIO mortgage, it is repayable when you die or move into care.

Unlike Nationwide's other later-life mortgages, you do not have to make any payments from month to month. However, there can be a number of drawbacks. Read our guide to lifetime mortgages to find out more.

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Retirement interest-only mortgages: the best deals available

Since a growing number of lenders are offering RIO mortgages, it's worth checking how Nationwide's deals stack up.

Our retirement interest-only mortgages guide has a detailed breakdown of every RIO mortgage currently on the market, and each lender's eligibility criteria - but for a snapshot, the table below shows the best products on the market by initial rate, according to Moneyfacts.

At the moment, all of the top rates come from discounted variable-rate mortgages, which are pegged at a certain percentage below the lender's standard variable rate (SVR).

Nationwide has said its RIO products will be tracker and fixed-rate mortgages, starting at 2.74% and 2.99% respectively.

This will place it near the front of the pack for fixed-rate RIO deals, as the table below shows.

Other factors to bear in mind

Of course, rates aren't the only thing you should consider when choosing a mortgage: fees, Ts and Cs and customer service must also play a part.

To help with your decision, we've combined customer feedback and expert analysis of the mortgage market to work out the best mortgage lenders.

Our most recent review found Nationwide to be one of the four best lenders on the market and so we named it a Which? Recommended Provider.

Lifetime, repayment or RIO mortgage: which option is best?

All three of these mortgage types could be suited to older homeowners looking to release equity from their property.

If you want to release cash by remortgaging now but can afford to pay off interest and capital going forwards, a repayment mortgage could allow you to settle the loan before you die, meaning you can still leave your property to your descendants.

If, on the other hand, you can only commit to a small monthly payment, a RIO mortgage provides a flexible solution as you can pay down the interest and also usually make penalty-free overpayments of up to 10% of the capital each year if you're able (this will vary by lender though, so check terms first).

With a lifetime mortgage, many lenders will charge you extra if you want to pay the loan off early. And since you're not paying interest or capital, your total loan can spiral quickly, potentially leaving your descendants with very little inheritance in the way of property value.