Value of equity release at five year high

Sam Cordon

October 16, 2013

This represents a 14% year-on-year increase and a 15% jump from the previous quarter.

The average amount released has also broken records, with each customer now releasing £57,107.

This amount is the largest since quarterly records began in 2002, potentially sparked by the ever increasing cost of living, coupled with the dwindling saving pots of the over-55s.

The number of equity release customers has also increased with almost 14,000 of over-55s having released equity from their homes in 2013.

Some 4,975 customers came to the market in the third quarter alone which is the most seen in a single quarter in four years. This is up 7% on the second quarter and represents a 4% year-on-year change.

The total value of both lump sum and drawdown mortgages has also increased in the last quarter and year, with drawdown mortgage values reaching £187.9m – the highest since 2008 – and lump sum mortgage reaching £95.7m – the highest since 2009.

Nigel Waterson, chairman of the Equity Release Council said: “As our figures continue to leap up quarter-on-quarter, year-on-year – the equity release market is very much alive.

“It is encouraging to see significant increases in not only the number of over-55s making the most of their property wealth, but also the amount that each individual is able to release.

“The growing interest in the market is a sign that equity release has an increasingly important place to play in financial planning for later life, giving advisers a key option to assist their clients among the range of retirement products.

“With house prices rising month-on-month, but saving pots dwindling and the cost of living soaring, equity release can offer homeowners a way to take the stress out of retirement, whether it be to help with those outstanding debts or to just ensure you can enjoy your later years.”

Drawdown mortgages remain the more popular choice with consumers, representing 66% of the market value – a slight increase on the last quarter (64%).

The percentage of market share for lump sum mortgages has slightly decreased by one percentage point from Q2 to 34%.

The latest figures also reveal that 97% of equity release plans are sold through independent financial advisers.

Creeping up every quarter since records began (as low as 64% in Q3 2003) it is clear that equity release customers are increasingly looking to independent advisers to get the best and most suitable plan for their individual needs.

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