Advisers expect average age of equity release customers to go up

Michael Lloyd

February 12, 2019

More than two-fifths of financial advisers expect equity release clients to be older on average in 2019 than they were last year, Canada Life Home Finance has found.

When asked how they thought the demographics of equity release customers will change from 2018 to 2019, 42% of advisers said they expect an increase in the average age of people who take out equity release, which was 71 in 2018. In contrast, less than a third (30%) thought that the average age will fall.

Alice Watson, head of marketing and communications at Canada Life Home Finance, said: “It isn’t too hard to see why a significant proportion of advisers expect to see older equity release customers in 2019. Historically, equity release products have been better suited to older homeowners.

“With today’s pension pots dwindling and more people understanding how property wealth can help fund retirement, it is reasonable to expect more retirees will tap into property wealth at a later stage when they are more likely to have depleted pension savings.

“However, it is notable that almost a third of advisers expect the average age of equity release customers to fall. With the latest ERC figures showing more equity release customers than ever before, it makes sense that a number of these will be younger homeowners.

“While it is good news that equity release is becoming attractive to a wider demographic, it won’t be the most suitable solution for everyone. And there is no right or wrong answer on the best age to take out equity release. This is why independent financial advice is so important.”

Some two in 10 (20%) advisers expected the average price of an equity release property will be higher in 12 months’ time, compared to 14% of advisers who think that properties will be worth less. The average price in 2018 was £300,000.

Similarly, two in 10 (20%) advisers expected the average equity release loan will be larger than 2018’s £78,000 average, while a mere 3% thought loans will be smaller on average.

Watson added: “Advisers are clearly looking beyond today’s stagnant house market and expecting growth.

“It remains to be seen what house prices do in the coming year, but with growing product innovation and more people taking a holistic approach to retirement planning, we could start to see housing wealth establish itself further as a key pillar of later-life financial planning.”

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