Finance

1 in 5 equity release customers 'shocked' with low valuation

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6th January 2016
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Research from Bower Retirement Services has found that almost one in five people who take out equity release have received lower than expected property valuations when they take out plans.

Advisers estimate that 19% of customers over value their homes before starting an application, despite the average value of homes increasing.

Around 70% of advisers questioned say they have seen increases in the average value of homes owned by customers they deal with and 21% are seeing substantial increases in property values.

14% of advisers say the average house price of customers they deal with is £500,000 or more, underlining the expansion of the equity release market.

Bower’s research shows advisers expect continuing growth in the equity release market during 2016 but there is confusion about the possible impact of regulatory changes from the FCA review of the market and the Financial Advice Market Review.

Around 35% of advisers say they are unsure if the FAMR will be positive for the equity release market while 36% are not convinced the FCA review looking at barriers to entry and the market in general will be positive.

Andrea Rozario, Chief Corporate Officer at Bower Retirement Services, said: “Lower than expected valuations are an emerging issue for the equity release market with many customers over-estimating their property’s worth.

That can come as a shock when people are making the decision to access their property wealth as part of retirement planning underlining the need for specialist advice and service throughout the equity release process. That becomes even more important as average property values of equity release customers are continuing to rise with increasing number of customers with houses worth £500,000 or more recognising how property wealth can help with retirement planning.”

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