Equity release lending a quarter higher than last year

Ryan Bembridge

April 18, 2018

Equity release lending saw a 25% increase in Q1 2018 year-on-year – with homeowners releasing £870m from their homes, Equity Release Council figures show.

Comparatively £697m was released in Q1 2017 and £394 in Q1 2016.

Older homeowners unlocked nearly £10m (£9.7m) of housing wealth every day from January to March 2018.

David Burrowes, chairman of the Equity Release Council, said: “It is clear that equity release has become an increasingly useful and flexible financial planning tool for older homeowners.

“While pensioners’ income is on the rise, a potential over-reliance on private pensions could lead to a retirement income shortfall in the future.

“New sources of income in later life are increasingly being sought, and this highlights the need for a rounded approach to retirement planning which considers all wealth, assets and product choices.”

New customers in Q1 2018 agreed drawdown plans with an average initial instalment of £64,797, a rise of 11% (from £58,466) year-on-year.

Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, managing director of lifetime mortgages at OneFamily, said: “The equity release market goes from strength to strength as more homeowners use their property to help fund their retirement.

“As the Equity Release Council statistics show much of this growth is being driven by innovation and providers offering products that help broaden the appeal of lifetime mortgages to more over 55s.”

Alice Watson, head of product and marketing at Retirement Advantage Equity Release, said: “A recent surge in product innovation is driving the equity release market to new heights.

“To see lending more than double in two years is testament to how useful equity release products are in helping over-55s unlock property wealth to boost retirement income.

“These figures also show that the message around the role property wealth can play in retirement planning is reaching more people every day. In particular, the value in taking a holistic approach which considers property wealth alongside pensions and other assets.

“However, the industry must make sure that product innovation does not let up if growth is to continue.”

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