Equity Release  

Equity release enjoys end-of-year boom

Equity release enjoys end-of-year boom

An end-of-year boom in the equity release sector has seen lending surge to record levels, according to Responsible Equity Release (RER).

The average amount of equity released by individual homeowners in November hit an all-time high of £85,946, up from £70,851 in October.

Meanwhile, the number of homeowners taking out equity release plans was up 1.2 per cent to reach a new record high, the provider reported.

The total amount of equity released in November was up 20.9 per cent on October and also climbed 25.3 per cent from September to November compared with the previous quarter. 

Steve Wilkie, managing director at RER, said older people were turning to equity release as the government focuses on helping the younger generations. 

He said: "There was nothing for pensioners in the Autumn Budget as the chancellor focused his attention on winning over the younger voters.

"Retirees aren't so much the older generation as the forgotten generation. They have been left to fend for themselves when it comes to their finances, having to swallow a decade of stagnant savings growth.

"With rising living costs, many are left with very little income to enjoy their later years.

"This is why thousands of retirees are using their homes to provide a much-needed income boost."

The total amount of equity released by homeowners in the East Midlands and West Midlands was up 54.2 per cent and 34.7 per cent in November, according to RER.

Despite concerns over falling house prices, homeowners in London released more than £170,000 on average in November, with the total amount of equity released up 41.8 per cent on October.  

Would-be equity release borrowers now have more options than ever before, with the number of product options on offer having tripled over the past 10 years.

Mark Loydall, director at Derbyshire-based Cambourne Financial Planning, said: “I think [the increase] is more to do with people talking about equity release far more, because as a result of pension freedoms your house comes back into play as a planning tool.

"You can leave your pension to someone inheritance tax-free, so your house comes into play not just as a release of money but as a planning tool. 

"We are having more conversations about this with clients, because they are thinking about their options more."

simon.allin@ft.com