Equity release market growth stalls in 2019

Sophie King reports...

Last year saw a flat result for the equity release market as the total amount retired homeowners released from their properties fell by 4%, according to research by Key.

In its Equity Release Market Monitor report, the specialist adviser found retired homeowners released nearly £3.45bn in 2019 – around £150m less than in 2018, when homeowners released £3.6bn.

Meanwhile, the number of new plans taken out dropped by 3% in 2019 from 47,081 in 2018 to 45,598.

Those living in the South East made the most use of equity release, with retired homeowners living in the area releasing £970m in 2019, which once again represented a fall from £1,047m the year before.

The firm said the final three months of 2019 showed signs of a return to growth with £921m released compared with £887m in Q3.

‘Positive headwind’

Key CEO Will Hale said 2019 did not see the continued double-digit growth seen in recent year: “Although we saw small year-on-year falls in the value and volume of equity release taken out, the last two quarters were more upbeat and we start the year with a positive headwind fuelling the belief that we will continue to see growth in the equity release market.”

Hale said 2020 had the makings of an interesting year for the equity release market, and attention needed to be given to educating and engaging with key audiences to highlight how housing equity could play a role in meeting challenges faced by individuals.

He continued: “Boosting retirement income, helping people to pay for social care at home and helping the younger generation onto the property ladder are all positive outcomes delivered by taking a holistic approach to managing your assets in retirement.”