There is a growing shift towards customers using equity release to proactively fund major lifestyle choices, from new cars and new property to home renovations.
According to Canada Life, its findings show that homeowners over 55 are increasingly willing to tap into property wealth for a wider range of purposes, moving away from the idea of equity release as a need-based option. Other choices, such as using equity release to clear mortgages and support day to day living costs, also remain popular.
For the first time, 50% of customers used equity release to fund home improvements in the third quarter of this year (up from 45% in Q2). The proportion using equity release to help them buy a new property went up as well (to 11% from 10%), along with the number who purchased a car, caravan, motorbike or boat (up to 16% from 15%).
While options such as using equity release to clear an existing mortgage (35%), consolidate unsecured debts (25%) or supplement daily living expenses (20%) remain popular, the figures show a trend towards more lifestyle-based purchases, Canada Life said.
Alice Watson, head of marketing and communications at Canada Life Home Finance, said: “Customers are becoming more familiar with equity release and its features, and it has expanded their horizons of what they will consider it for.
“That isn’t to say we’ve seen a reduction in the number of people using equity release to clear mortgages, consolidate debts or support daily living expenses – options that have long been popular and will remain so. But it shows that people are looking at property wealth holistically, and increasingly view it as something that can help them enjoy their retirement.
“With the market as a whole also seeing its first billion-pound quarter in Q3 this year, and doubling in size since 2016, we expect to see further growth built on older people’s desire to explore all their assets holistically as part of their retirement planning growth.”