The number of single women taking a lifetime mortgage has increased to one in every three customers (35%) from one in four (23%) just two years ago, OneFamily has found.
Married couples are the most common lifetime mortgage borrowers (42%) and single men are the least likely group of customers, accounting for less than one in four (23%) despite also seeing a rise since 2016.
The trend is driven by a variety of factors including women often having lower pension savings than men and rising divorce rates amongst over 55s.
Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, managing director of lifetime mortgages at OneFamily, said: “It is heartening to see more women are becoming confident to take advantage of the wealth locked up in their properties.
“Many lose out on opportunities to save more for retirement, as they are the primary caregivers, taking career breaks to raise children or care for an ill or elderly relative, and so inevitably, end up with less money for retirement.
“A lifetime mortgage means they can access the equity in their home, gaining an additional income, which they can then use to enjoy their retirement.”
On average women take £88,000 from the equity in their homes to boost their retirement income. Women over 55 have saved £70,000 for their golden years but hope to have an annual retirement income of £20,000, leaving them with a significant gap to cover.
With a retirement life expectancy of 20 years, if they retire at 66 and live until 86, and with a maximum of £8,500 a year coming from a state pension, they will need three times this amount.
By taking equity out of their homes they are getting much closer to their retirement income expectations.
Over half of these women (52%) are choosing to pay off the interest on their loans, either on a regular or ad-hoc basis, taking control of the amount of money that will be left in the property.
They are also choosing to take a quarter of their home’s value in equity, with an average loan-to-value of 26%, meaning that should they need to they can release additional money at a later date.