First-time buyer

A new norm in mortgage terms!

June 4, 2024
Information published was correct at the time of writing

First-time purchasers opting for mortgage durations exceeding 35 years.

“The extension of mortgage terms, commonly referred to as ‘term-stretch’, is increasingly being utilised as a strategy to enhance affordability amidst soaring property prices and stringent lending criteria.”

Navigating the complexities of purchasing a first home, many aspiring homeowners are grappling with the significant hurdles that come with securing a deposit and an affordable mortgage. In light of these challenges, recent insights have highlighted a notable trend among first-time buyers: the adoption of mortgages with extended terms.

This move aims to maintain monthly payments within an affordable range, offering a pragmatic approach to achieving homeownership in today’s market. An unprecedented one in four individuals stepping onto the property ladder are now opting for mortgage terms extending beyond 35 years[1].

This trend has been catalysed by the escalating costs of borrowing, with data revealing that towards the close of 2023, 23% of all mortgages secured by first-time purchasers were for durations exceeding 35 years. This marks a substantial increase from 17% in the previous year and a mere 9% following the Bank of England’s initial interest rate increases towards the end of 2021[1].


Opting for a longer mortgage term can certainly ease homeowners’ monthly financial burden, making homeownership more accessible in the short term. However, over the duration of the loan, borrowers will accumulate significantly higher debt, potentially impacting their financial stability into retirement.

Presently, mortgages exceeding 30 years constitute over a third of all agreements made by first-time buyers. This shift underscores a departure from the traditional 25-year mortgage, which was once the standard.


The extension of mortgage terms, commonly referred to as ‘term-stretch’, is increasingly being utilised as a strategy to enhance affordability amidst soaring property prices and stringent lending criteria. Despite these measures, a considerable number of applicants fail to meet the affordability checks imposed by lenders, contributing to a marked reduction in the volume of loans issued over the past year.

Furthermore, by the conclusion of last year, approximately five million mortgage holders had not transitioned their loans to reflect the higher interest rates, indicating a potential financial strain on a significant portion of homeowners[1].


This evolving landscape presents both opportunities and challenges for first-time buyers. On one hand, longer mortgage terms offer a viable path to homeownership in an era of rising property values and interest rates. On the other, they necessitate careful consideration of long-term financial planning and the potential implications of accruing greater debt over an extended period.

For those navigating the complexities of securing a mortgage in today’s market, it’s crucial to weigh the immediate benefits of reduced monthly payments against long-term financial commitments. As the property market continues to evolve, staying informed and seeking professional mortgage advice will help prospective homeowners make decisions that align with their financial goals and circumstances.

Don’t forget, our professional friendly advisors are on hand to support you and can help you explore all of your options.


[1] Research data from UK Finance – 04/03/24

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