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Equity release market has doubled in the last three years

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The number of plans taken out rose by over 20% in 2018 alone, as older homeowners unlocked cash from their homes
Equity release market has doubled in the last three years

Nearly £10 million a day was released in equity in 2018, with customers releasing an average £76,500 from their homes, according to equity release firm, Key.

It said that equity release plan sales rose by 21% in the year to 47,081 and new lending increased by £586 million to a new record high of £3.6 billion – more than double the £1.71 billion level achieved in 2015.

All areas of the country recorded strong growth in plan sales and value released with Londoners receiving the biggest cash boost at £136,850.

How do they spend it?

The number of customers using money to help families rose to 27% from 24% the previous year. Money gifted to family and friends is typically being used to clear debts, pay for significant life events such as weddings or to fund house deposits.

The most popular use remains funding home and garden improvements with 64% re-investing some or all the money in their houses – often to “age-proof” the property.

Around one in three (33%) paid for holidays and 31% used some or all the cash to clear credit cards or loans while 22% paid off existing mortgages.

Will Hale, CEO at Key, said: “The growth in gifting highlights the intergenerational benefits of equity release for families with money being used to clear debts, fund university fees and pay for house deposits and weddings. Even the use of equity release to fund home and garden improvements has benefits for families as it helps people to ‘age-proof’ their home and preserve wealth for the family.

“Debt remains however a major issue for some retired people and substantial numbers are relying on equity release to clear credit cards and loans as well as paying off mortgages. Good specialist advice is key to ensuring that older homeowners receive the most benefit from their property wealth and use it in the most appropriate way for them and their families.”

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