Equity release fuels overseas boom

Ramesh Sharma

April 15, 2006

The retirement finance firm found 16 per cent of people over 65 wanted to live abroad but also wished to retain a home in the UK. Equity release policies are becoming an increasingly popular method of achieving this dream, by raising money to buy property abroad while keeping a stake in their UK home.

Mark Neal, managing director of Economic Lifestyle, said: “The development of the equity release market, which saw retired homeowners release £1.1 billion from their homes during 2005, will fuel the number of retired homeowners buying properties abroad.

“The growing number and range of equity release products is making this easier to do and it will be a contributing factor behind the estimated 1.88 million Britons aged 55 and over who could be living abroad within four years.”

Economic Lifestyle’s figures showed around 328,000 retired people would like to release around £30,000 or more to finance a home abroad, with most favoured destinations including Spain and France.

However, the company has warned that those planning to live abroad during their retirement must fully comprehend the sacrifices and implications involved.

As well as financial factors, such as provision of state pensions, other factors, such as being away from friends and family for example, need to be taken into consideration by the customer.

Dean Mirfin, business development manager for Key Retirement Solutions, commented: “We already work with a number of organisations who facilitate buying abroad and there is a growing tide of people wanting to live abroad but who do not want to give up their home here. This is particularly likely if their children are still living in the UK, as they don’t like to sever the link.”

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