Equity Release

New equity release lending reaches a record high

Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

Older homeowners are increasingly turning to equity release to unlock their property wealth

Homeowners aged 55 and over took out a record 13,452 new equity release plans between July and September this year, according to the Equity Release Council.

This marks an all-time high and is an 8% increase on the previous quarter.

There were also 9,648 returning customers and 2,419 further advances agreed, meaning there were 25,519 active customers during the third quarter, according to the trade body.

Total lending topped £1.71bn during the same period, which is another record high.

Growth in demand

New customer numbers increased by a third (34%) year-on-year, with total lending to new and returning customers growing by 49%, said the Equity Release Council.

The average amount of equity unlocked with a new plan was £133,770, while the average initial amount taken on a drawdown plan was £88,340.

David Burrowes, chair of the Equity Release Council, said: “The summer months have seen the equity release market resume its pre-pandemic growth trajectory, with extra protections having been added in the intervening years so all new customers can make voluntary repayments when they can afford to and reduce their overall costs.

“Equity release is not an overnight purchase, and the desire to secure lower interest rates before anticipated rises is likely to have influenced customers’ timings as they completed deals from earlier in the year.”

Steve Wilkie, executive chairman of lifetime mortgage broker Responsible Life, added: “Buoyant property prices continued to give homeowners a ready solution to their financial needs in retirement over the summer, and this is what drove record equity release lending and sent the number of new loans to an all-time high.

“The rise in the number of new lifetime mortgage borrowers is perhaps most significant. While the total amount borrowed is affected by inflation and property price growth, the numbers of people whose best option in later life is equity release continues to rise.”