3rd March 2022

How Long?

With 35 and 40 year mortgages becoming more common, surely a home should be designed to last for more than one mortgage term?

In 2021 the average mortgage taken out by a first time buyer in the UK was for £198,000.  In London, that figure was a staggering £358,000.

Not surprisingly, the age of first time buyers is creeping up, now averaging 32, up from an average of 29 a decade ago.

There is no let-up in demand, meaning prices continue to rise. With affordability becoming an increasing problem, one solution is for mortgage terms that stretch into three or four decades.  The English Housing Survey found that 45% of first-time buyers in 2018-2019 had a mortgage of 30 years or longer. This compares to 33% in 2008-2009.

Comparison website moneyfacts in 2019 found 2,744 mortgage products available with terms of 40 years, going so far as to suggest that 40-year mortgages are becoming the norm. 2021 saw Habito One launching a 40 year fixed interest mortgage, offering borrowers a degree of certainty stretching way into their future.

Let’s just think about that.

No mortgage company is going to offer a 40-year mortgage on a property whose expected lifespan is less than the mortgage term.  If your home falls into that category, it’s essentially worthless.

Yet we are building homes in the UK with a design life of just 60 years.  One full mortgage term.  What then?  Does this mean that the asset you have spent your entire working life buying could have no value?
Not surprisingly, H+H has always maintained that homes should be expected to last for generations and is confident in the 100+ years lifespan of its aircrete structures.

We think that design regulations should look into the future and consider the impact on future generations if the housing stock proves to be ephemeral rather than permanent.

Sustainable buildings are surely those that last for a very, very long time, sparing resources as well as financial pain in years to come.

Just one reason to consider masonry as a first choice for contemporary housing design.