Are you keeping up with the Joneses? Not just in terms of the car on your drive or the clothes on your back, but the amount of your home you own? Paying off a mortgage as early as possible is a common ambition among homeowners.
Reaching mortgage-free status is a major step on the way to a financially secure retirement, but figures indicate that this dream is at risk because many more people are carrying mountains of housing debt later in life.
Analysis of data from the Financial Conduct Authority, the City watchdog, by Royal London, the insurer, shows that homeowners are increasingly struggling to pay off huge mortgage loans. The situation has worsened since the financial crisis, despite owners enjoying rock‑bottom interest rates for the past decade.
Much of keeping up with the Joneses involves knowing what the Joneses do. So how much of your property should you own at each stage of your life?
Royal London found that those aged 25 and under typically owned a 10pc-15pc stake in their property, with this share growing to between 15pc and 25pc after the age of 26.
Once homeowners reach their 30s they will typically own more than a quarter of their property, rising to half as they enter their 40s. It is not until the age of 56 that most people start to achieve mortgage freedom, as this is when the typical amount outstanding falls into the range 0pc-30pc. The picture has become bleaker since 2007, when this data was first collected: the equivalent age then was 51.