For the first time, half of customers (50%) used equity release to fund home improvements in the third quarter of this year, up from 45% in Q2, Canada Life has found.
The proportion using equity release to help them buy a new property went up as well, to 11% from 10%, along with the number who purchased a car, caravan, motorbike or boat, up to 16% from 15%.
Alice Watson, head of marketing and communications at Canada Life Home Finance, said: “Customers are becoming more familiar with equity release and its features, and it has expanded their horizons of what they will consider it for.
“That isn’t to say we’ve seen a reduction in the number of people using equity release to clear mortgages, consolidate debts or support daily living expenses – options that have long been popular and will remain so.
“But it shows that people are looking at property wealth holistically, and increasingly view it as something that can help them enjoy their retirement.
“With the market as a whole also seeing its first billion-pound quarter in Q3 this year, and doubling in size since 2016, we expect to see further growth built on older people’s desire to explore all their assets holistically as part of their retirement planning growth.”
While options such as using equity release to clear an existing mortgage (35%), consolidate unsecured debts (25%) or supplement daily living expenses (20%) remaining popular, the figures show a trend towards more lifestyle-based purchases.