Equity Release 

Female divorcees driving equity release rates

Female divorcees driving equity release rates

Female divorcees aged 55 plus are driving equity release rates, as divorcing couples use property wealth to help one partner remain in the family home, analysis from Bower Retirement revealed.

Increased applications are being made from divorcing couples, with rising numbers of women using equity release to help split finances.

Government data from the Office for National Statistics shows the number of divorces and the divorce rate has dropped nearly 30 per cent since the peak in 2004 to around 111,169 divorces a year.

Around 27 per cent of divorces in 2014 - a total of 30, 650 - were among couples aged 55 plus.

However, the only age to record an increase in the divorce rate was women aged 55 plus and this is being reflected in equity release inquiries and sales, according to Bower Retirement.

Research among advisers shows around 21 per cent of equity release customers have struggled to be accepted for mainstream mortgages.

Analysts say the increase in divorce among women aged 55 plus in partially driven by increased financial independence among women who are now more able to support themselves following divorce.

Another reason for the rise in divorce is increased longevity.

Andrea Rozario, chief corporate officer at Bower Retirement, said: “Rising numbers of customers are increasingly women looking to use property wealth to stay in the family home as many will struggle to raise money for deposits for new houses.

“Equity release can help divorcees split an estate without having to lose the family home entirely while enabling the other partner fund a deposit for a new home.

“Indeed, while there have been developments in the mainstream mortgage market allowing older borrowers more flexibility, it is still problematic for the older generation facing divorce to secure mortgages."

ruth.gillbe@ft.com

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