Ahead of this afternoon’s Budget, equity release lender More 2 Life has issued its ‘Wish List’, calling on the Chancellor to provide greater support to the retirement lending sector.
With the UK facing a retirement funding crisis and challenges around meeting later life costs such as care, the lender is urging the government to raise awareness among retirees of the potential uses of housing equity.
The government recently signalled the inclusion of equity release information as part of its new Single Financial Guidance Body offering and More 2 Life is calling for careful management of this implementation to ensure older homeowners are provided with sufficient guidance to make informed choices.
As part of its ‘Wish List’, More 2 Life is also calling for greater investment in affordable housing suitable for older consumers wishing to downsizing. Research from the lender last year revealed that 52% of retirees hadn’t downsized due to a lack of suitably sized properties available on the market. The research also highlighted that 20% of retirees said they hadn’t been able to downsize due to high stamp duty costs* As such, More 2 Life is also urging the government to review stamp duty for “last time buyers” as part of this year’s Budget.
Dave Harris (pictured), chief executive officer at More 2 Life, said: “Within the next 50 years, more than a quarter of the UK’s entire population is projected to be over 65 years old. They will be facing challenges such as how to pay for care costs and how to maintain their standard of living in later life with an often limited retirement savings pot. To prevent increasing numbers from being forced to falling back onto state support, people must consider how housing equity can be used to meet these costs. The fact that the Single Financial Guidance body will reference equity release is certainly a step towards this goal but further education is needed.
“Education alone may not be enough and we need to consider other steps such as a commitment to increase the number of affordable housing options for older people and an end to stamp duty for “last time buyers”. Not only would this encourage movement within the housing market but it would allow older borrowers to access some of the wealth tied up in their properties to meet their own retirement costs or provide a financial boost for the younger generation.”