Could Britain become one of those countries where property is so expensive that the only route to home ownership is to take out a mortgage that will never be fully paid off?
The City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, has just taken us a step in that direction. It is consulting about allowing interest-only mortgages (where the capital debt is not reduced) to make a comeback. And it would potentially allow these loans to be advanced to borrowers in later life.
This would help a particular group of borrowers, now mostly in their 60s, who have existing interest-only mortgages and no means of repaying the capital. They could simply continue on the same basis.
But the move could have far greater ramifications. Britain could become more like Sweden, Switzerland or Japan, where rising property prices have resulted in mortgages that are not repaid within one borrower's lifetime. The benefits?
It means more people are able to own a part, if not the whole, of a property - and thus benefit from any increase in its value. The downside, though, is that paying interest on a loan for life is not unlike paying rent.