The latest data released by independent equity release adviser, Key, has revealed that equity release plans have risen by 16% during Q3 as the sector market continues to break records.
According to Key's figures, retired homeowners are boosting their finances by an average of £76,967 - a rise of nearly £5,500 during the three months to 1st October when compared with the same period last year (£71,483).
The total value of new property wealth released in the three months increased by 25% on the previous year to £933.9 million and plan sales grew by 16% to 12,133.
This money released through equity release is typically used for a variety of different expenses. In Q3 2018, two-thirds (66%) used some or all of the cash to improve their homes or gardens – often ‘age proofing’ them to ensure they are able to stay in their homes. Over a quarter (27%) gifted some or all of the money to help family or friends and 30% used the proceeds of equity release to repay unsecured debts.
All areas of the country saw strong growth in plan sales and value released with Londoners receiving the biggest cash boost at £141,671 but all retired homeowners released substantial new property wealth - the lowest was £50,000 in Northern Ireland (see below for more details).
Key’s Equity Release Market Monitor, which analyses its data reflecting both Equity Release Council members and non-members, found the biggest increase in value released and plans sold was in Scotland. Total value more than doubled and plan sales rose by 50%.
Northern Ireland, the North West, the West Midlands and Yorkshire & Humberside all saw strong growth in value released while Northern Ireland, the North East, West Midlands and Yorkshire & Humberside recorded high increased in plan sales.
Almost two thirds (63%) of all sales were drawdown plans, including 5% in enhanced drawdown which offers enhanced terms to people with health or lifestyle conditions, compared with 37% from lump sum lifetime mortgages including 5% of enhanced plans.
Will Hale, CEO at Key, said: “The market is on course to reach or even pass the £4 billion mark this year given that the last three months of the year is often one of the busiest quarters.
The substantial amounts that customers are able to release highlights how vital property wealth is to retirement planning and the expansion is being driven by customers realising they can address a wide range of financial issues. Paying for home and garden improvements which often help people to ‘age-proof’ their home remains the most popular use of money with 66% releasing wealth for that purpose.
However, clearing debt is still a major concern for customers – 30% paid off credit cards and loans with the money they released while 21% were clearing outstanding mortgages. Over a quarter (27%) also chose to gift some or all of the proceeds of equity release to friends and family.
Increased flexibility of equity release plans means older homeowners can use their money in the most appropriate way for them and their families and independent expert advice is key to ensuring they can do so.”