In the latest figures for Quarter 1 2008, SHIP revealed the number of equity release plans sold fell by 13 per cent year on year, from 6,785 down to 5,892; the fall reflecting lower demand in Q4 2007 given that equity release cases take on average three months to complete.
The number of new home reversion plans sold in the first quarter was 265 with the overall number of plans current at quarter end being 10,581.
During the 12 months ended 31 March 2008, SHIP members completed new business totalling £74.4 million.
Bridgewater Equity Release compliance and communications manager Alison Beeston says: “There has been a small drop in overall equity release business probably as a result of the jittery market conditions of business in that period and at the moment.
“However, compared to the 50 per cent drop in mortgage business over the same term I think this shows the resilience of the equity release market to this type of turmoil.
She adds: “We have been suggesting that advisers consider this sector as a means to diversify for some time and many are now coming around to this way of thinking. Enquiries about entering the sector are at an all-time high and Bridgewater in particular is liaising with many intermediaries to help them make the move into equity release.
“Increased numbers of advisers will only help make access to advice easier and subsequently support the further growth prospects of the market. It is pleasing to see so many within the advisory community taking a fresh interest in equity release and we look forward to working with ever-increasing numbers of professional equity release advisers in the future.”