Equity release lending set to hit record high

Homeowners are set to access more than £4bn of property wealth this year via equity release for the first time on record, new figures published by the Equity Release Council have revealed.

New and returning customers have accessed £3.46bn so far in 2021. Over-55 homeowners unlocked £1.15bn of property wealth via equity release during Q3 2021, down 2% from Q2 (£1.17bn), but up 19% (£963m) compared with Q3 2020.

Fewer customers accessed drawdown funds in Q3, but new plans and further advances both saw growth. Average new lump sum plans reduced from £129,558 in Q2 to £121,464 in Q3 as the first stamp duty holiday deadline passes, while the average new drawdown plan size is unchanged.

David Burrowes, chairman of the Equity Release Council, said: “The equity release market has been a steady ship in turbulent times with activity broadly stable now for four successive quarters. The inevitable pandemic slowdown has been followed by the gradual return of confidence, helped by the robust performance of the wider property market. “While annual activity has hovered close to £4bn since 2018, the market hasn’t stood still and the available product range has more than doubled since then. Homeowners in need of extra funds for later life are increasingly look to equity release as a positive step, in the right circumstances, to benefit from a source of wealth they have built up over many decades.

“The stamp duty holiday inevitably impacted consumer behaviour over the summer and into autumn, with average loan sizes and drawdown activity fluctuating. Looking ahead, the ability to gift money to family members and share the proceeds of long-term house price growth is likely to remain an attractive option. Equity release can both help to close the financial gap between generations and allow people in later life to experience and enjoy the benefits of providing a living inheritance.”

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