More retired homeowners use housing wealth to clear debt

The number of customers using money from their homes to pay off credit cards and loans hit a three-year high of 35% in the first quarter of 2019, Key’s Equity Release Mortgage Market Monitor shows.

Customers released an average £75,032 during the three months and the most popular use of the money was paying for home and garden improvement, as 60% used equity release for that purpose.

Around one in three (31%) chose to pay for holidays while 30% were able to use some or all the cash to help family.

Will Hale, chief executive at Key, said: “The current challenging economic environment has seen a move away from holidays and home improvements to people tackling pressing immediate issues such as to pay off debt.

“Nearing or entering retirement with an income that might be exceeded or matched by debt repayments can be hugely stressful and may mean people need to make fundamental changes to their plans such as working longer.

“However, this will not solve everyone’s issues and is not even viable for some so looking into downsizing, equity release or other later life lending options might be the right answer.”

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