UK needs more home lending solutions for retirement, research suggests

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More than one in three equity release customers in the UK are still paying off mortgages highlighting the growing need for retirement lending solutions, new research suggests. A study from national specialist Bower Retirement Services shows that 36% of over 55s seen by advisers are still paying home loans and advisers are seeing a surge of inquiries from customers with interest only loans. The firm’s quarterly Adviser Tracker Research report also shows that 68% of equity release specialists have seen a rise in customers with interest only loans looking for solutions. Advisers are also reporting an increase in customers who have considered downsizing as a solution but then decided not to go ahead. Some 23% of clients who looked at downsizing did not go ahead with key reasons including staying near family and friends and not being able to find a suitable home. Around 75% of those who did not go ahead said they wanted to stay near family while 54% could not find a suitable home. Bower believes the recent launch by Santander and Legal & General of a partnership to offer lifetime mortgages as an option to customers facing the possibility of repayment shortfalls demonstrates the growing need for new solutions. ‘The Legal & General and Santander deal is a significant move for the launch of retirement lending but much more needs to be done. Significant numbers of people aged over 55 are paying off mortgages but do not have the range of options they need,’ said Andrea Rozario, chief corporate officer at Bower Retirement Services. ‘Downsizing will be appropriate for many but it is also clear that many want to stay in their existing home for emotional and financial reasons and should be able to do so as long as it is in their best interests,’ she pointed out. She added that one potential problem for clients is their home not being worth what they thought and around 18% of advisers say clients who went ahead with equity release found their house was valued at lower than they had expected. Taylor Scott International

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