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Ageing population to impact upon mortgage lending trends

John Trethowan, Chairman of the Progressive Board, Darina Armstrong, Chief Executive Progressive and Professor Neil Gibson Director of Northern Ireland’s Centre for Economic Policy at University of Ulster.
Rebecca Kincade on May 30, 2014 - 8:58 am in News

Northern Ireland’s ageing demographic is set to fundamentally change the mortgage market with the number of people aged 65 and over expected to increase by 25% in the next ten years according to Professor Neil Gibson who was delivering a keynote address at Progressive Building Society’s Centenary Dinner at Queen’s Great Hall.

The Director of Northern Ireland’s Centre for Economic Policy at University of Ulster also stated that Northern Ireland’s house prices fell too far and the improvement in the market is a natural correction of this bottoming out, forecasting that house prices will continue to rise in the short to medium term. However a challenge to the sustainability of the recovery is Northern Ireland’s changing demographics which will potentially break the support chain to first time buyers.

Commenting Neil said, “While there may be growth until 2015, the picture beyond that is less certain with the potential for rising interest rates and Northern Ireland’s ageing population which will affect lending and borrowing trends. If people are living longer any inheritance that may have previously been left to children or equity available to use as a deposit for a first home, will no longer be available. Financial institutions will need to address these challenges by offering financial planning, not product selling and ensure first time buyers are much better informed and have total clarity of the lending process,” said Neil.

Celebrating 100 years in business, Progressive Building Society recently announced pre tax profits of £5.7m and its merger with the City of Derry Building Society.

Darina Armstrong, Chief Executive Progressive said, “We believe we are well placed to deal with the changing lending environments of an ageing population as we have qualified mortgage advisors in each of our 12-strong branch network offering face to face advice and guidance to customers. The procedure of applying for a mortgage can appear complex and the new Mortgage Market Review changes will build on a more intensive overall approach to the mortgage lending process. We do not believe in over complicating our products and we do not hide behind confusing terms and conditions. In order to help consumers understand the new rules we will have staff in all branches available to take customers through the changes in their mortgage applications, ensuring they understand each step of the process.”

She added: “Our key focus in 2014 will be to provide security for our members and build on our financial strength. We have committed to investing £1million in redeveloping our Ballymena branch offering our members more modern and state of the art facilities. The merger with the City of Derry will also be a key priority for us and will enable the members of both societies to benefit from the financial strength of the combined society. Our values which we’ve had for 100 years will remain and Progressive will continue to operate as it always has – a traditional building society, offering good value savings and mortgage products and excellent customer service for the benefit of our members.”

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