LV= has revealed an increase in the number of people aged over 65 using equity release products to pay off debts and mortgages.
The firm’s customer data shows that 27% of customers in 2019 used equity release to clear their mortgage, loans or debts compared to 15% in 2016.
Helping family and friends has risen from 8% to 16% during the same period while home improvements fell from 32% to 24%. The figures also show that a larger proportion of women (55%) take out equity release plans than men (45%).
Since 2002, LV= served 14,183 equity release customers and lent £1.18bn.
Georgina Oxton, strategic sales manager at LV= said: “Over the past four years, the equity release market has grown significantly as more versatile products have been introduced to meet changing requirements of customers.
“However, it is striking how the reasons why people are using equity release are changing. With pension income often being less than hoped for and high levels of consumer debt, an increasing proportion of customers are using the equity in their homes to pay off loans and outstanding mortgages. For customers with interest-only mortgages having no means of repaying them, equity release would be one option as people have the added security of still living in their home until they die or go into long-term care.
“Helping grandchildren with deposits for their first home or the costs of higher education are just some of the reasons why an increasing number of our customers use equity release to help friends and families.
“Equity release is proving popular with women for a variety of reasons. More women are retiring with relatively small pensions due to the fact that they generally live longer than men, earning lower wages and rising divorce rates for the over 60s.”