Older homeowners in the West Midlands boosted their finances by more than £123m in the first half of this year, an analysis by equity release advisory firm Key has found.
Key’s H1 Equity Release Market Monitor showed older homeowners in the West Midlands made an average of £63,447 tax-free on their homes in H1.
Will Hale, chief executive at Key, said: “Despite the over-55s taking a cautious approach to accessing the value tied up in their property in the first half of this year, the West Midlands has seen strong growth in both plan sales and total property wealth released.
“Against the backdrop of economic uncertainty, the equity release market has seen a subdued first half with slower growth than in recent years.
“That said, the market is benefiting from the arrival of new sources of funding which is helping to keep rates at historic lows and to drive the launch of various new products.
“Consequently, we have seen an increase in the number of customers re-mortgaging to benefit from these lower rates or the opportunity to release additional equity due to house price rises or the higher LTVs that are now available.
“The myriad of different reasons that customers use equity release for highlights how vital specialist independent expert advice is to ensure that older homeowners in the West Midlands are helped to make the right choices for their individual circumstances.”
Despite a background of market and economic uncertainty in the first half of 2019, the West Midlands still saw a 20% rise in plan sales. The total value of property wealth released in the region in the first six months of this year also climbed by 19% more than the previous year.
Across the UK, the biggest single use of property wealth remains home or garden improvements (64%) as older borrowers look to age proof their homes in order to remain in them longer.
Meanwhile 28% made gifts to family typically to help with house purchases or weddings. Up to half of all customers used equity release to repay debt – either in the form of mortgages (20%) or unsecured debt (30%) as people increasingly looked to housing equity to shore up their finances.
There has been a year-on-year increase of 5.6% in the number of plans to 22,126 while total value of new equity released edged up by 3% to £1.682bn.
Older homeowners in the North West boosted their finances by £117m in the first half of this year, 14% more than the same period last year, making an average of £58,135 tax-free on their homes.
Older homeowners in the North East released more than £36m in in H1 while the figure was £79m in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Over 55s in Northern Ireland raised more than £10m from their properties in H1, up 26% from H1 2018, the largest increase in the UK.
Furthermore, in Wales homeowners used equity release to make £65.3m in the first half of 2019.