Equity Release  

Equity release hits £1bn in single quarter

Equity release hits £1bn in single quarter

The equity release market moved close to an unprecedented £1bn of activity in a single quarter, according to the latest data.

Quarterly figures from the Equity Release Council found homeowners aged 55+ unlocked £971m from their homes in Q2 2018.

Total lending between April and June increased by 12 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2018, which stood at £870m and by 39 per cent year-on-year from Q2 2017, when lending stood at £701m.

The body said the quarterly increase was broadly in line with the average 11 per cent growth seen quarter to quarter since Q1 2016, as equity release has become more and more popular.

The number of customers served during Q2 rose 27 per cent year-on-year, from 16,022 in Q2 2017 to 20,326.

It was up 9 per cent on Q1 2018, when the figure stood at 18,586.

David Burrowes, chairman of the Equity Release Council, said: "Consumers are releasing money from their homes for a variety of reasons, and features like downsizing protection and repayment options mean today’s equity release product range is designed to evolve as people age and circumstances change.

"Growing choice and flexibility has propelled equity release into the mainstream consciousness, and it is crucial that consumers are encouraged to weigh up all the choices available to them, to help create a rounded approach to later life planning that considers property alongside pensions and other assets."

Total lending in the first half of 2018 reached £1.84bn overall, up by 32 per cent from H1 2017.

The total number of customers served increased 28 per cent over the half year period, from 16,805 to 38,912.

The rise in activity during Q2 was driven by 11,295 customers taking out new plans, compared with 10,195 in the previous quarter and 8,454 a year earlier, the council stated.

More than three in five new customers chose drawdown lifetime mortgages in the quarter, while two in five chose a lump sum mortgage to receive a single payout instead.

The number of returning drawdown customers making withdrawals from their agreed ‘reserve’ funds also rose year-on-year in Q2.

However, customers taking further advances on top of an existing plan dropped by 9 per cent, from 1,002 in Q2 2017 to 910 in Q2 2018.

Martin Bamford, Chartered financial planner at Surrey-based Informed Choice and a Solla accredited later life adviser, said equity release made sense for a lot of people but it was not right for everyone. 

He said: "For most people, the equity in the value of their homes represents their single biggest asset.

"Often retirees want to distribute some of their wealth during their lifetime, especially to adult children who would otherwise struggle to get onto the property ladder.

"We’re living increasingly longer lives and more expensive lives in retirement, so it makes sense to consider using equity release to supplement other retirement wealth, such as pension income."

Steve Wilkie, managing director of Responsible Equity Release, said: "It’s staggering to think that seven years on, an industry that lent less than £200m in Q2 2011, is now closing in on the £1bn mark for the latest quarter."