Equity release wealth in the UK rises 1.4% to £372bn in Q2

Victoria McKeever writes

Equity release wealth available to the over-55s across the UK rose to £372.5bn in the second quarter of 2017, according to the Retirement Advantage equity release property value tracker.

The figure represented a 1.4% increase from the £367.5bn recorded in the previous quarter and was driven by growth in property values nationally, the firm said.

Retirement Advantage reported rises particularly in the East Midlands (+1%), Scotland (+0.7%) and the North of England (+0.7%).

Head of marketing Alice Watson (pictured) said it was encouraging to see growth in the market amid recent concerns about economic uncertainty slowing the housing market.

“It is nationwide too,” she said. “Far from being confined to London and the South East, the biggest growth in the last quarter has come from outside these regions.”

“We know from our customers that equity release is valued for a number of reasons and as recent industry figures prove, more people are factoring in property wealth to fund certain costs in retirement.”

Recent data published by the firm showed home improvements and clearing an existing mortgage topped the list of uses in the first half of 2017.

More than a quarter (27%) of savers put the loans towards home improvements, while the same number used the wealth released from their property to clear an existing mortgage, the figures, which were released in July, showed.

The latest figures from the Equity Release Council saw a record-breaking second quarter for the sector, as it found over-55s withdrew a total of £701m from their homes between April and June 2017 – the highest figure in any single three-month period since the council began recording quarterly activity in 2002.