Equity Release 

Five times more equity release deals than in 2014

Five times more equity release deals than in 2014

The equity release market has grown by more than 50 per cent in the last year alone, latest data from Moneyfacts has revealed.

The research showed there are now 201 lifetime equity release deals available on the market today, five times more than in 2014 when there were just 40 products.

In February 2018, the number of lifetime equity release deals available stood at 131, while there were 90 deals in February 2017, according to the data.

The average overall interest rate for equity release deals has fallen slightly year-on-year, from 5.27 per cent in February 2018 to 5.24 per cent today.

However, the rates have risen since July 2018, when the average overall rate was at its lowest recorded at 5.04 per cent, Moneyfacts' figures revealed.

Nearly four-fifths of the market (79 per cent) now charge a product fee, compared with 69 per cent last year, although this is down from February 2014 when 95 per cent of deals applied a product fee.

The lowest fixed rate available today is 3.55 per cent, up from 2.94 per cent last year, and 2.99 per cent in February 2014.

Equity release market analysis

Lifetime equity release deals

Feb 2014

Feb 2017

Feb 2018

Today

Number of deals overall

40

90

131

201

Average rate overall (fixed and variable)

6.10%

5.37%

5.27%

5.24%

Lowest fixed rate

2.99%

2.74%

2.94%

3.55%

% of deals with a product fee

95%

88%

69%

79%

Source: Moneyfacts.co.uk

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts, said: "Lenders have expanded their product ranges vigorously, in response to consumer demand for greater choice in the market and, as such, the number of deals available is now at its highest level.

"The market has expanded five times over from five years ago, showing that lenders are primed and ready with a variety of deals for prospective borrowers."

She added borrowers are rethinking plans to take a lump sum and are instead turning to drawdown to limit the interest charges on releasing cash from their home.

"As reported in the Equity Release Council's Autumn 2018 report, drawdown is more popular with borrowers, with two-thirds (65 per cent) of new customers opting for a drawdown lifetime mortgage in the first half of 2018."

Ms Springall warned early redemption charges on lifetime mortgages should be considered by consumers.

He said: "If borrowers are not careful, they could enter a deal where a penalty applies for as long as 10 years into the arrangement. Indeed, some consumers may have to pay as much as 10 per cent of the advance in the first five years.

"It is worth keeping in mind that equity release is not solely aimed at the equity rich, but cash-poor or those looking to plug the gap of their later life care costs.

"These types of mortgages could be an option for those hoping to soften any inheritance tax blow, while lifetime mortgages may also be an alternative to borrowers who have considered downsizing, but do not want to move and pay stamp duty."

Tracey Lucas, director of Premier Equity Release, said: "The product fees on equity release can be as little as £30, so the fact a large majority of providers are charging fees is not overly concerning.

"We are encouraged that the products available in this market are continuing to evolve and offer more choice to consumers.

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