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Endowment Mortgages

What Is An Endowment Mortgage?

An endowment mortgage, in theory, is supposed to lower your mortgage payment. Ideally, endowment mortgages are much cheaper than standard mortgage policies such as repayment mortgages. When you get an endowment mortgage, you pay only the interest on the amount borrowed. In addition to this, you pay an addition small sum into a policy that is supposed to be ever-increasing: the endowment policy. This policy is supposed to grow and grow, and at the end of the mortgage term you use this money to pay off your capital.

“The customer pays only the interest on the capital borrowed, thus saving money with respect to an ordinary repayment loan; the borrower instead makes payments to an endowment policy. The objective is that the investment made through the endowment policy will be sufficient to repay the mortgage at the end of the term and possibly create a cash surplus.”
- Endowment Mortgages, Wikipedia, June 2006

Endowment mortgage is actually not a legal term. This type of mortgage policy was popular in the 1980s, especially in the UK, but natural fiscal problems and stock market lows made many of these policies practically worthless. An endowment mortgage is always going to be hit or miss. When they work, they really work well. When they don’t work…then, things aren’t so great.

“With an endowment mortgage, the borrower only pays the monthly interest to the lender while investing an additional monthly sum into a policy that is usually invested in equities. The theory is that this "endowment policy" should grow sufficiently, with long-term share price rises, over the course of the mortgage (usually 25 years) that the capital debt can be repaid at the end of the term.”
- Q & A: Endowment Mortgages, Business Times Online, June 2006

And If Things Go Wrong With My Endowment Mortgage?
“With an endowment policy, you lay yourself open to the vagaries of the stock market and the competence of the policy manger. You must also closely monitor the performance of your policy to make sure you are contributing enough.”
- Q & A: Endowment Mortgages, Business Times Online, June 2006

Let’s say, for instance, that you get an endowment mortgage. This type of mortgage has been getting more and more attention recently, and some consumers are starting to think it might just be a good idea again. So you get an endowment mortgage and start paying off your interest regularly. With equal regularity, you deposit a certain amount of dollars into your endowment policy. Only, the stock market doesn’t do so well. Stocks are low, the economy takes a plunge. Twenty-five years go by, and you discover that your endowment policy does not have enough in it to pay off your capital. All your interest has been paid, quite nicely, for two and a half decades, however. So, what about that capital loan that needs to be paid off?

You’d better find a way to pay it off…somehow.

“The underlying premise with endowment policies being used to repay a mortgage is that the rate of growth of the investment will exceed the rate of interest charged on the loan. Towards the end of the 1980s when endowment mortgage selling was at its peak, the anticipated growth rate for endowments policies was high (7-12% per annum). By the middle of the 1990s the change in the economy towards lower inflation made the assumptions of a few years ago looks optimistic.”
- Endowment Mortgages, Wikipedia, June 2006

“When you took out your mortgage with an endowment policy, the aim was that the policy would grow in value. However, as the value of most policies is linked to the performance of the stock market there is usually no guarantee that the policy value will be sufficient to repay the mortgage at the end of the mortgage term.”
- Consumer Information, FSA, June 2006

About the Author: James has been writing about endowment mortgages for many years and offers information on the different types of mortgages available from the web site

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