Equity release options almost treble in space of a year

The number of equity release products has almost trebled in the past year after hitting a new record high of 1,557 at the end of the first quarter, new data from Key Partnerships has revealed.

Key Partnerships, the referral arm of equity release adviser Key Later Life Finance, confirmed the figure nearly treble the 547 plans on offer at the end of Q1 2021, as the later life lending market has continued to expand. 

With the introduction of the Equity Release Council’s fifth product standard in March, all new equity release customers can now benefit from the ability to make ad-hoc penalty free repayments. Compared to the same time last year, just 330 plans – 60% of those available – offered one-off fee-free repayments.

Key’s analysis also highlighted that fixed early repayment charges on equity release plans have become more of a feature across the market, with around 63% or 979 plans offering fixed early repayment charges – making it easier and more affordable for customers to switch loans.

“The expansion of the number of plans available on the market has been remarkable with the last year seeing the number nearly treble,” commented business development director at Key Group, Jason Ruse.

“Developments in the market and the innovation in product design reflect the growth in lending and the demand from customers for more flexibility underlining how equity release has become a true later life lending market.

“The rapid widening of choice emphasises the importance of expert independent advice for customers and the need for advisers to stay up to date with what is a growing and fast-changing market. Advisers who do not regularly work in the market should consider whether setting up a referral relationship might not be a better idea.”

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