Equity release lending hit record high of £6.2bn in 2022
More borrowers chose to release property wealth last year compared to 2021
2022 saw record equity release lending with 93,421 new and returning customers accessing their property wealth via equity release products, said the Equity Release Council.
This was up 23% year-on-year and the highest rate of growth since 2018.
The trade body for equity release added that total annual lending reached £6.2bn, a new record high and up 29% from £4.8bn in 2021. This was also double the £3.06bn seen in 2017.
Nearly 50,000 homeowners took out new equity release plans in 2022, up 20% on 2021.
End of year dip
Despite the strong performance, activity in the equity release market fell in the last quarter of the year. This was due to market disruption following September’s disastrous mini-Budget.
December was the quietest month since before the Covid-19 pandemic as customers took stock at the end of the year, with loan sizes also reduced in the last three months of 2022.
David Burrowes, chairman of the Equity Release Council, said: “We saw a glimpse of the equity release market’s potential in 2022 as it returned to its previous growth path with a growing customer base making use of improved products and added protections. In a climate where retirement incomes have to stretch further for longer, property wealth is as important to many people’s financial wellbeing as their pension.
“The unmet needs of the UK’s ageing population have seen the equity release market double in size since 2017, channelling decades of experience in helping older homeowners to gain financial freedom.
“Factors outside the industry’s control meant 2022 ended on an unusually quiet note in December, after the mini-Budget fuelled rate rises and tightening criteria. However, releasing equity is not a choice to make on a whim, and we are encouraged by signs that customers are pausing to assess their options. Seeking informed financial advice and independent legal advice from firms who sign up to Council standards is essential at the best of times, and more so now than ever.”