The trade body reported this was the highest level since the last quarter of 2009 which was at £231.7m and the Q4 2011 figure was substantially higher than the same time last year at £188.5m.
The number of plans sold also increased to 4,399 in Q4 2011 from 4,148 the previous quarter.
This was also at its highest figure since Q1 2010 when the number of plans sold was 4,716.
SHIP said this was excellent news for the market as it showed that despite the continued economic turmoil, people had sufficient faith in the housing market to use their equity to improve their finances.
The majority of plans advanced were drawdown plans and accounted for 62% of the market followed by lump-sum mortgages at 36% and home reversion plans at 2%.
Nine out of 10 of all equity release plans were sold by intermediaries. By value intermediaries sold £193.3m compared to direct sales which sold £22.6m.
The value of plans sold in 2011 came to a total of £788.6m, below that of £803.6m in 2010.
Andrea Rozario, director general of SHIP, said: “We are delighted to report that not only did total advances reach a two-year high in Q4 2011 but this is the third quarter of growth in equity release sales. This is excellent news and puts the industry on track for a strong 2012.
“This year promises to be a significant one in SHIP’s history as we will be expanding our membership to include intermediaries, solicitors and other interested stakeholders.
“By the end of Q1 2012 we intend to announce the outline of the new body which will work to promote the benefits of these products and ensure consumers receive access to suitable products.”