Retired homeowners released £1.71bn of property wealth in the first six months of 2018 as the equity release market continued its record-breaking growth.
Key Retirement’s first half of 2018 Equity Release Market Monitor found the total value of property wealth released to the end of June increased 37 per cent on the same period last year, when it stood at £1.24bn, with plan sales growing to 22,816 from 17,656.
About £9.5m of property wealth was released every day in the six months to July, with equity release plan sales growing 29 per cent year-on-year.
Customers were receiving on average almost £78,000 to boost their standard of living in retirement, with families one of the biggest beneficiaries of their property wealth gains.
About 28 per cent of retired homeowners used some or all of the money for gifts for families compared with 23 per cent in the first six months of 2017.
Dean Mirfin, chief product officer at Key Retirement, said: "Customer demand is driving the expansion in the market to new record highs enabling more retired homeowners to transform their finances.
"More money was released in the first six months of 2018 than in the whole of 2015 as records continue to be broken across the market with expert independent advisers playing a vital role.
"Property wealth is not just helping to transform an individual’s retirement planning but is also helping their families with their financial needs.
"The growth in gifting underlines how much can be achieved when the average amounts being released are as much as £78,000."
The most popular use of the released money was to fund home and garden improvements, with 63 per cent of retired homeowners spending some of the money on their houses while 33 per cent used the cash to pay for holidays.
Debt remained an issue, with around one in five clearing outstanding mortgages and 32 per cent paying off credit cards or loans.
Retired homeowners in London released an average £133,000 of property wealth each in the six months – the highest in the country – followed by the South East on almost £90,000 and the South West on £77,000.
But every region saw strong growth in the value of property wealth released. The total value of property wealth released soared by 65 per cent in East Anglia and plan sales surged by 50 per cent in the West Midlands.
Other areas recording strong growth included the West Midlands at 62 per cent and the East Midlands on 56 per cent followed by the north east at 55 per cent.
Hot spots for rising sales of plans included the East Midlands at 45 per cent followed by Northern Ireland at 43 per cent and Wales at 42 per cent.
AJ Somal, chartered financial planner for Aurora Financial Planning, said: "l do think record customer demand is driving expansion, with the billions of pounds of equity locked in people’s homes, it is only now after over a decade of predictions, that the market is finally growing.