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Government could transform equity release

The Government needs to take a positive stance to equity release to transform the market, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

It says its new research shows the market for equity release has been affected by the Government’s view that it has limited relevance as it cannot help the poorest people.

The report says that negative coverage on past difficulties in the market and the view that equity release carries a reputational risk which deters some bigger lenders from the market has also played a part.

It focused on why the equity-release market has developed more slowly in the UK than in the US, Australia and New Zealand,

Independent consultant and author Peter Williams says: “Looking at the wider context, it is clear that equity release will continue to grow. The reality, however, is that it will grow much bigger and faster if the industry moves forward in more creative ways.”

Williams says the Government should recognise that, given its concern over building a society in which ownership of assets is a priority, it should help create and sustain ways in which people can exploit these assets.

He says: “Demand for equity-release products could be speeded up and extended if the Government played a more created and active role on the issue of helping homeowners access the value of their homes.”

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