Equity release hits £1.71bn in H1, up 37% year-on-year

Michael Lloyd

July 12, 2018

Retired homeowners released £1.71bn of property wealth in the first six months of the year, up 37% from the first six months last year, equity release adviser Key Retirement’s H1 2018 Equity Release Market Monitor has found.

Total plan numbers were 22,816 up 29% year-on-year and the average advance was £77,934, an increase of 10% from that last year. Around £9.5m of property wealth was released every day in the six months to July.

Dean Mirfin, chief product officer at Key Retirement, said: “Customer demand is driving the expansion in the market to new record highs enabling more retired homeowners to transform their finances.

“More money was released in the first six months of 2018 than in the whole of 2015 as records continue to be broken across the market with expert independent advisers playing a vital role.

“Property wealth is not just helping to transform an individual’s retirement planning but is also helping their families with their financial needs.

“The growth in gifting underlines how much can be achieved when the average amounts being released are as much as £78,000. The Bank of Mum and Dad, or Gran and Grandad are changing lives, and not just their own.”

Customers are receiving an average of nearly £78,000 to boost their standard of living in retirement with families one of the biggest beneficiaries of their property wealth gains.

Around 28% of retired homeowners used some or all of the money for gifts for families compared with 23% in the first six months of 2017.

The most widely used remained home and, or, garden improvements at 63% and about the same number of people as last year (22%) used equity release to clear an outstanding mortgage.

Some 29% of equity release in H1 was by 70 to 74 year-olds, closely followed by 65-69 year-olds (25%). Mirfin said older customers use it more for home and garden improvements while there’s been an increase in the use of equity release to pay for care at home.

He predicted that by the end of 2018 there would have been 51,250 new plans, a rise of 32% from that last year and £4.2bn lending, an increase of 39% year-on-year.

The total value of property wealth released to the end of June increased by 37% on the previous year to £1.71bn from £1.24bn and plan sales grew to 22,816 from 17,656.

The most popular use of the money released in the six months was to fund home and garden improvements with 63% of retired homeowners spending some of the money on their houses while 33% used the cash to pay for holidays.

Debt remains an issue – around one in five (22%) cleared outstanding mortgages during the six months and 32% paid off credit cards or loans.

The South East of England accounted for more than a quarter of all equity release sales and nearly 30% of total lending.

Retired homeowners in London released an average £133,000 of property wealth each in the six months – the highest in the country – followed by the South East on nearly £90,000 and the South West on £77,000.

But every region saw strong growth in the value of property wealth released. The total value of property wealth released soared by 65% in East Anglia and plan sales surged by 50% in the West Midlands.

Other areas recording strong growth in property wealth released included the West Midlands at 62% and the East Midlands on 56% followed by the North East at 55%. Hotspots for rising sales of plans included the East Midlands at 45% followed by Northern Ireland on 43% and Wales on 42%.

Around 57% of all sales were drawdown plans, including 13% in enhanced drawdown which offers enhanced terms to people with health or lifestyle conditions, compared with 43% from lump sum lifetime mortgages including 16% of enhanced products.

Dave Harris, chief executive officer at equity release lender, more 2 life, said: “This continued upward trend presents positive opportunities for advisers and lenders to meet the demand by further enhancing their services to clients and ensuring that equity release is incorporated into holistic discussions around retirement planning.”

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