Big surge in equity release according to sector trade body

The equity release sector is claiming a record quarter between April and June with the number of new customers and total value of lending rising significantly year-on-year.

Figures from the Equity Release Council – the members of which account for some 95 per cent of all equity release activity – says over the course of the past three months over-55s withdrew a total of £701m from their homes.

That’s the highest figure in any single quarter since the council started recording quarterly activity in 2002 and it represents an increase of over a third in the value of lending when compared to the same period of 2016.

The Q2 2017 total amounts to almost 90 per cent of the activity recorded during the whole of 2011 in the wake of the financial crisis.

There were more than 16,000 equity release customers between April and June this year; of these, 8,454 took out new equity release plans.

Q2 2017 also saw 6,566 returning drawdown customers, using products which allow people to release multiple sums from the value of their home in installments, therefore reducing the build-up of interest over the duration of the plan.

The remaining 1,002 customers in Q2 agreed extensions on existing plans.

In terms of product choices, drawdown lifetime mortgages remained the most popular product on the market in Q2 2017. Almost seven in 10 new customers opted for drawdown in the quarter while lump sum products accounted for 32 per cent of new plans agreed and 37 per cent of total lending in the second quarter.

“Continued rapid growth in housing wealth withdrawals reflects an increasing appetite among older consumers to utilise bricks and mortar for funding retirements” says Nigel Waterson, Equity Release Council chairman.

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