Equity release lending hits record high


Equity release lending hit £384.3m in the second quarter, the highest figure since records began.

The latest statistics from the Equity Release Council, published this morning, show lending rose 18 per cent year-on-year from £325.6m in Q2 2014 and passed the previous three-month record of £375.4m set in Q3 last year.

Some 5,414 new customers took out equity release plans during the quarter, up 11 per cent compared with the first three months of the year and pushing the total beyond 10,000 for the first half of 2015.

ERC chairman Nigel Waterson says: “The last three months have been a landmark period for UK retirees and those approaching retirement, and equity release activity continues to grow amid a sea of change.

“There is no doubt the pension freedoms have created more options for people to consider, but the appeal of tapping into housing wealth is on the rise as older consumers seek to make use of all the assets at their disposal.

“Doom and gloom often surrounds discussions on retirement income, but while contributions to pension pots remain low, an entire generation of homeowners have been paying into property their whole lives: making it an asset that can transform their financial options beyond the age of 55.

“Anyone seeking advice on how to plan their retirement should consider their property as a valuable source of wealth.”

Just Retirement director Stephen Lowe says: “These are early days but it will be interesting to see whether there is any impact from April’s pensions reforms on the equity release market.

“Generating income remains the priority for most retirees and taking pension cash to use in the short-term has to be balanced by maintaining sufficient assets to continue generating income for the long-term. It is likely pension freedom will complement further growth in equity release sales, particularly as retirees start to take a more rounded view of their assets rather than thinking of pensions and housing assets as distinct from each other.”