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Over half of older homeowners think property could boost retirement funds

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Leaving a property as inheritance is no longer considered essential, as many homeowners expect to release equity to help fund their later years
Over half of older homeowners think property could boost retirement funds

Over half (51%) of homeowners aged 45 and over plan to use their property to boost finances in later life, according to a report from the Equity Release Council.

The equity release trade body said that older homeowners – particularly those aged 45 to 64 – are reassessing the traditional role of property.

They are less likely than their older counterparts to see property as something to leave behind as an inheritance, for example. Instead, they are more likely to think of it as a multi-purpose financial tool that can support their own financial plans (55%), be used as a nest egg to meet unexpected expenses (49%) or help family members (25%).

Homeowners aged 45+ see their home as the most important contributing factor to their financial comfort in later life (68%), and over half (56%) feel they can benefit from its financial value while they still live there.

Later life lending

More than two fifths (44%) of over-45 homeowners feel taking out a mortgage or loan to access property wealth in later life is becoming a more common way to manage money, while 40% see it as a “reality” of ageing.

Only 34% feel they have no need to consider this option either now or in future, including just 30% of those aged 45-64.

David Burrowes, chairman of the Equity Release Council said: “The UK’s ageing population and changing retirement landscape means people are increasingly thinking of property as a multi-purpose financial asset – particularly those aged 45 to 64, the retirees of tomorrow. Property is often a person’s single largest asset and makes a significant contribution to homeowners’ personal finances as well as providing a place to live.

“Changing attitudes to property are significant given the financial challenges facing our ageing population as they seek to live longer, healthier lives. Many people have made inadequate provision for their retirement and care needs, while others have younger family to support. Consequently, bricks and mortar have become a vital piece of the retirement funding jigsaw, to benefit people during their lifetime as well as their families.

Will Hale, CEO of equity release adviser, Key, added: “For over-65s today, wealth is intrinsically linked to bricks and mortar with 40p in every pound that they own tied up in property. Historically, people have seen their house as a home and potentially as an inheritance to pass on to the next generation but this report clearly highlights that not only is that perception changing but that it has to change.

“With pension savings failing to keep up with the increase in longevity, the vast majority of people will need to carefully consider how they maximise all their assets in retirement. Whether they conclude they want to use property as a nest egg, a source of income or to provide a helping hand to the younger generation, ignoring 40% of their net worth just doesn’t make sense.”

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