Equity release rebounds in Q3 after lockdown slump

Tom Ellis reports

The amount of equity withdrawn from homes has rebounded after a slump during the coronavirus lockdown but remains slightly down year-on-year.

In Q3 of 2020 some 10,351 new equity release plans were agreed, which is 41% more than the previous quarter yet still down 9% on the 11,419 in Q3 of 2019.

A total £963m was unlocked during the third quarter of this year, up 38% on the slump of Q2, but 3% down on the total from Q3 2019.

Equity Release Council chairman David Burrowes said: “These figures show a steady return to something closer to normal activity over the summer, after the market weathered the initial impact of Covid-19. With the country experiencing a break from lockdown, the pick-up was helped by a mix of new enquiries and delayed cases from earlier in the year.

“Despite the uncertain climate, the market has adjusted well to the challenges of operating safely in a pandemic. Desktop property valuations have been used selectively, solicitors have taken extra steps to maintain consumer protections when advising remotely, and product pricing has remained competitive.”

LV= director of savings at retirement David Stevens added: “It is good to see that the equity release market is recovering from the lockdown of early spring. Although this quarter’s figures are lower than last year’s LV=’s research indicates that a growing number of wealth consumers are recognising that equity release is one option when it comes to funding retirement.”