Plymouth revealed as Great Britain’s mortgage-free capital

Plymouth has emerged as the home-owning capital of the country with 44 per cent of people in the city owning their home outright.

Glasgow props up the league table with just 24 per cent of residents being mortgage-free.

The figures (1) are released today by Which? Mortgage Advisers.

The average price of a property in Plymouth is £164,000 (2), substantially less than the national average of £270,000. And its population is older too, with 22 per cent of residents over the age of 60 (3) compared with the national average of 12 per cent.

Lower property prices and an older population profile explain Plymouth’s position in the league table but being older is no guarantee of being mortgage free.

In fact, according to the study 11 per cent of the over 65s – about 625,000 people – are still paying off their mortgage. Nationally one third of us own our own homes with nothing to pay while 35 per cent of adults have a home loan, and a further 31 per cent rent. In London, the rental figure spirals to 38 per cent, indicating the Capital’s ballooning property prices.

“Being mortgage free is a dream every home owner has,” says Michael Johnson of Which? Mortgage Advisers, “but for many it’s a long hard slog with millions of us borrowing more against our existing properties, taking payment holidays or trading up.”

“Our research shows that the average age people pay off their home loan is 51 though with the right advice homeowners can achieve mortgage free status in their 30s and 40s, and 16% of our nationwide poll achieved total home ownership before the age of 45.

“With the right guidance, considerable savings can be made by making minor adjustments to your mortgage. Some of the ways to help reduce your long term interest repayments include: reducing the terms of your mortgage, making overpayments while interest rates are low, or getting an offset mortgage.”

The part of the country with the highest proportion of young mortgage free homeowners is Leeds where 26 per cent of homeowners under the age of 44 own their homes outright.

There is evidence that younger homeowners are getting set to play the property market. People aged 18-34 are most likely to increase the amount they borrow in the next twelve months with 15 per cent of people in this group expecting to  borrow more.

Older homeowners are more cautious with eight per cent of 35 – 44 year olds planning to borrow more and just four per cent of people aged over 45 planning to extend their mortgage.

“With all the talk of possible interest rate rises we’ve seen a sharp rise in the number of people wanting advice on fixed rate mortgages,” says  Michael Johnson: “Now is a good time to get the right mortgage for your needs, and get impartial and bespoke advice to make a house a home.”

Table 1: Top five cities by proportion of residents owning their home with no mortgage

City Proportion of residents owning their home with no mortgage
Plymouth 44%
Oxford 42%
Southampton 41%
Norwich 40%
Hull 39%
National average 33%

Table 2: Bottom five cities by proportion of residents owning their home with no mortgage

City Proportion of residents owning their home with no mortgage
London 30%
Milton  Keynes 29%
Edinburgh 26%
Sheffield 25%
Glasgow 24%
National average 33%

Table 3: Ownership status by age

  25-34 yr olds 35-44 yr olds 45- 54 yr olds 55- 64 yr olds 65+ yr olds
Own outright without mortgage 16% 12% 24% 45% 69%
Owned with mortgage or loan 42% 53% 43% 32% 11%
Rented from council 10% 14% 19% 11% 10%
Rented from housing association 6% 6% 6% 6% 4%
Rented from someone else 23% 13% 8% 6% 5%
Rent free 3% 1%

Which? Mortgage Adviser’s top tips on how to pay off your mortgage sooner.


You can reduce the rates of interest you are paying by re-mortgaging to another provider. By reducing the amount of interest you pay but keeping your payment at the same amount, you could reduce the term of your mortgage and reduce the amount of interest you pay.

Reduce the term of your mortgage.

Many chose a 25 year mortgage term without considering the alternatives. Even a 24 or 23 year term can save vast amounts in interest payments. A good mortgage adviser will to talk you through the cost of varying different mortgage terms in line with your budget.

Get an offset mortgage.

Money put into an offset savings account is used against your mortgage balance to reduce the interest you pay. This allows you to make lower monthly repayments on your mortgage or make overpayments against your mortgage, cutting years off your mortgage term and reducing the amount of interest you pay overall. This type of deal is particularly beneficial to higher rate tax payers as they can save 40% in tax on their savings if they use it to “save” with an offset mortgage.

Overpay while mortgage rates are low.

If you can make higher repayments now, it won’t be a shock when the cost of borrowing increases. By which time, you would have reduced your mortgage balance. A good mortgage adviser will provide you with examples of how much interest you could save by overpaying your mortgage. Ideally, your mortgage should enable you to overpay by an amount you are comfortable with, without charging you fees.

Ditch debt.

If you have loans and credit cards which have higher rates of interest than your mortgage, pay these debts off before you overpay your mortgage. Take a mortgage payment holiday, should your mortgage lender allow this, in order to pay off higher interest bearing debts. However, you must be certain that taking a payment holiday will not impact upon your credit file.

Shop around to save cash.

Have you reviewed your insurance or utility costs lately? Any premium you’re paying for a length of time should be reviewed regularly, as savings can be used to pay off your mortgage.


Make a weekly household budget for food and bills and stick to it. We always have unexpected expenses but being disciplined with your outgoings can be very useful.





For more information please visit Which? Mortgage Advisers

Steve Marinker 0207 467 9272 or 07779 031 936

Alexander Clare 0207 467 9205 or 07702774803

Notes to editors

(1)                 Research conducted for Which? Mortgage Advisers by ICM among 4003 UK residents between 25th July and 1st August 2014

(2)                 Rightmove


More about Which? Mortgage Advisers

Which? Mortgage Advisers are paid a salary rather than commission, so their only reason for recommending a mortgage is that it’s right for the customer. Based in London and Bristol the team scours the entire market, including those deals only available direct from banks and building societies, to find the very best mortgage.

What happens when you contact Which? Mortgage Advisers?

1.    We will make an appointment for you to speak to one of our mortgage advisers.

2.    At that appointment we will want to understand what your circumstances are.

3.    Our independent and impartial advisers will then do the hard work for you – looking through 1000s of products to find the right deal for you.

4.    You can decide if you want to take our recommendation.

5.    There are no fees for the consultation. A fee is only payable if you decide to submit a mortgage application. As all our advisers are paid a salary, and not commission, there is no pressure.

6.    95% of customers are happy with the advice they get from Which? Mortgage Advisers.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
















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