05, March 2016: Over the last two years equity release has emerged as the go to financial service for pensioners looking to maximise their funds during retirement. It provides a stream of income by enabling the home owner to unlock wealth in their property. This money can be used to clear outstanding debts, pay for home improvements, or fund university fees.
Over the last two years, record numbers of people have been taking to equity release as a safe and secure means to improve their funds in retirement. Services such as Which Equity Release allow overs 55s to search the leading market providers for a plan which suits their circumstances.
There are several arrangements homeowners can choose from, such as a lifetime mortgage (the most popular form of equity release), home reversion, home income plan, and interest only. After agreeing a deal, the homeowner has access to a cash lump sum, or series of payments, which they can spend on the likes of debt clearance, home improvements, university fees, and holidays.v
Contrary to misconceptions about equity release, the plan holder remains the owner of their home for as long as they choose. In addition, the majority of equity release schemes are backed by a no negative equity assurance, which ensures the homeowner will never end up in debt.
Due to such security features, a record number of pensioners in the UK have been turning to equity release, with the surge of interest documented in the UK press in mainstream papers such as The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. This follows in the news of stories such as financial experts predicting a 65% increase in equity release over the next two years, with equity release set to reach£4.7 million a day.
Over the last two years, the number of customers has risen dramatically in the wake of the interest only time bomb crisis. This is the legacy of the 1980s insurance scheme which left hundreds of thousands of individuals unable to pay off their debts. Equity release has been seen as an ideal solution to this problem, as homeowners are able to unlock wealth locked in their homes to pay off their debts.
Equity release has emerged as the lifeline which could save thousands of people. Tougher mortgage rules, introduced by the government in 2014, furthering the popularity of equity release amongst retirees. It is being touted as a solution to the interest-only timebomb and it can solve other debt worries.
Based on figures from the Equity Release Council, pensioners unlocked a record amount of housing wealth in 2015. In total, £1.61 billion was withdrawn through equity release plans.These figures, as declared by the Equity Release Council, show a 16% increase on 2014. In total, 22,500 deals were agreed throughout the year, which was the highest amount since 2008. This amount of borrowing exceeds the previous total amount of borrowing, pre-recession, by a third, indicating equity release will continue to flourish in the coming years.
Which Equity Release provides a free online equity release calculator to over 55s looking to unlock wealth locked in their homes. It is an independent, impartial service for pensioners looking to improve their retirements.