Parents could save their graduate children over £30,000 in interest by remortgaging to pay off their university debt, according to new research from Private Finance.
However, the research suggests that graduates with more moderate salaries could benefit more from a helping hand onto the property ladder.
The average student debt upon graduation is now £50,000, consisting of £27,000 in fees, £18,000 in maintenance loans and three years of accrued interest while studying.
The cost of borrowing £50,000 on a 30-year term (the maximum repayment period for student loans) at today’s average two year fixed rate of 1.42% would be £61,440 overall, with £11,440 paid in interest. While this is a short-term rate, student debt is also linked to short-term factors such as inflation.
With interest on student loans much higher at 6.1% during study, and RPI + 0-3% thereafter, a graduate (with the average student debt) in the top decile in terms of salary will repay an average of £93,000 in total, with £43,000 or 276% more paid in interest post-graduation.
Table 1: High earners could save over £30k in interest if their parents paid fees by remortgaging
|Borrowing method||Interest rate||Original loan amount||Total interest paid|
|Mortgage||1.42% (2 year 75% LTV)||£50,000||£11,440|
|Student loan||6.1% during study
RPI + 0-3% thereafter*
*% added to RPI is dependent on earnings. Student loan is based on graduates in the top decile of earnings.
The average house price in England has risen by £63,000 over the past five years, which Private Finance says suggests many homeowners have a wealth of equity to tap into and facilitate a remortgage. Another benefit of parents helping to pay off their children’s student loan by remortgaging is the gift will potentially not be liable for Inheritance Tax as it would be if left as part of an inheritance. The child will also benefit from loan repayments not being taken from their monthly income, having a positive effect on a lender’s assessment of affordability and giving them a greater borrowing capacity should they wish to apply for a mortgage.
Private Finances says that given mortgage rates are expected to rise in the medium to long-term, some may wish to fix the amount they repay each month and guarantee the amount saved in student loan interest.
Parents borrowing £50,000 at 2.77% for a 10 year-fix (75% LTV) over 10 years will pay even less in interest (£7,314), a saving of £35,686 compared to repaying a student loan. However, monthly repayments would be high at £478.
Table 2: Shortening the mortgage term results in even greater interest savings
|Amount borrowed||Initial rate/ product||Term (years)||Interest paid||Interest saving vs. student loan|
|£50,000||1.42% (2 year 75% LTV)||30||£11,440||£31,560|
|£50,000||2.77% (10 year 75% LTV)||10||£7,314||£35,686|
Rates are taken from the Bank of England’s quoted average household rates (August)
However, Private Finance warns that it’s not necessarily financially effective for all parents to pay off their children’s student debt.
Under the current system, the loan is wiped clear 30 years after graduation. The average graduate will repay a total of £48,600 over that time. Graduates expecting a typical earnings trajectory might therefore benefit more if the same £50,000 was given to them in the form of a house deposit.
The average graduate salary one year after graduation is £18,500, allowing mortgage borrowing of up to £60,100. Take into account a £50,000 deposit and they could purchase a home up to £110,100, which would cover the average cost of a flat or maisonette in the North East (£95,271).
An individual earning £25,000 would have greater purchasing power, and could typically borrow up to £81,300. With the addition of a £50,000 deposit, they could afford a home of up to £131,300, covering the average cost of a flat or maisonette in the North West (£118,714), East Midlands (£115,344), West Midlands (£128,160) and Yorkshire (£117,168).
A couple where both individuals earned £25,000 each could afford a flat in all regions except London (£434,587) the East (£200,172), and South East of England (£208,062) if they were gifted this deposit.
Table 3: Gifted deposit helps graduates approach the property ladder
|Amount Permitted to borrow||Maximum House Price|
*Assumes each individual has the same salary.
Shaun Church, director at Private Finance, said: “Contrary to popular belief, there is no financial penalty for paying back student loans early. With average mortgage rates still at rock bottom, this presents parents of high-earning graduates the opportunity to help clear their student debt at an affordable rate of borrowing, potentially saving them tens of thousands of pounds. Mortgage rates may increase, but interest on student debt is also liable to change, as it is linked to inflation which has risen significantly in 2017. Borrowing rates are likely to remain well below the rate of student loan interest for many years to come.
“Most people will have seen the value of their home appreciate since they first took out their mortgage. For example, the average house price in England has risen by more than £60,000 in the past five years. Remortgaging effectively allows you to cash-in on this increase in value without moving home. However, anyone thinking of remortgaging would need to make sure their finances are in good health first, as affordability and credit checks still apply.”