Norwich Union has increased its share in the equity-release market to 45 per cent in the first half of 2003, according to figures from trade body Safe Home Income Plans.
The life office says its equity-release sales totalled £252m in the first six months of 2003 out of total Ship sales of £560m- which cover both reversion and mortgage providers.
Closest rival Northern Rock, which has partnerships with Legal &General and Prudential, took 37 per cent of the market with sales of £218m.
NU says the figures show that equity release is being seen and accepted as a mainstream retirement planning tool.
Norwich Union head of marketing Paul Stokes says: “More and more people are now realising that they can retain full ownership of their home and at the same time release capital to enable them to continue to enjoy or improve their lifestyle.”
Mortgageforce managing director Rob Clifford says: “Norwich Union have achieved their market share by having a strong brand and strong existing relationships with the IFA channel where a lot of advisers are using equity release as a part of overall retirement and inheritance tax planning.”
Premier Mortgage Management managing director Mark Mountney says: “These figures do not surprise me. They are the only provider that takes applications from the age of 50, five years before their competitors, they have good loan to value rates and, most important, they have a brand that people feel safe with.”