Equity release going from strength to strength in UK

Taylor Scott International News

Looming interest only mortgage due dates have driven a surge in sales of lump sum equity release plans to 40% of the market in the UK in the first quarter of 2016, according to a market monitor report. Some 40% of people are taking a single lump sum advance to reduce their debts, up from 30% for the same period in 2015, the data from the report from Key Retirement shows. The firm believes that the surge is largely being driven by customers who need the maximum cash available rather than drawdown as they are using the lump sum to pay off shortfalls in interest only mortgages. Average amounts released through equity release are now £76,000 and as high as £134,000 in London. The Market Monitor, which analyses data for Equity Release Council members and non-members, for the first three months of 2016 shows record growth with total property wealth released rising to nearly £415 million, up from £341 million last year. The detailed report by the over 55’s specialist shows rising numbers of retired home owners using their property wealth to pay down increasing debts including loans, credit cards and mortgages. Around 29% of customers used some or all of the money to pay off unsecured borrowing. Debt was primarily run up on credit cards or loans while 21% used some or all of their money to clear outstanding mortgages. 14% used the money to help with regular bills. ‘The record high number of equity release plans being taken out underlines how property wealth is an important part of retirement planning,’ said Dean Mirfin, technical director at Key Retirement. ‘Pensioners are making the most of successful property investment and rising house prices to substantially improve their retirement standard of living. However retiring in debt is still a major issue. It’s long been predicted that as the first large wave of interest only mortgages maturities begins more customers will turn to equity release to plug this gap,’ he added. The average amount released to boost retirement income increased 12% to £76,115 in the three months compared with £66,730. In London the average released was nearly £134,350 up from £129,991. Home and garden improvements remained the most popular way of using the money with 63% of those releasing equity from their home doing so for this purpose. Customers are also using the money to treat family and friends with 21% citing this as a main reason. A further 28% are using the money to pay for holidays. Across the country 10 out of 12 regions saw growth in the value of property wealth released with East Anglia recording an 80% rise, North West seeing a 48% increase and a 24% rise for London. The value released dropped 29% in the North and 16% in Northern Ireland. Growth continued in plan sales with 10 regions seeing increases and just two seeing decreases. The North saw plan sales decrease by 35% and Yorkshire and Humberside saw an 11%… Taylor Scott International

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