Membership of the Equity Release Council has increased annually by 46% to more than 300 member firms.
The Council has also seen a 38% increase in registered individuals over the same period, rising from 673 in December 2017 to now stand at over 900.
Having expanded its remit in 2012 from a provider-led body to be a representative voice for the whole sector, the Council has seen significant growth in two key categories of adviser and solicitor firm membership with an annual increase of 47% and 46% respectively.
The Council’s recommendation that equity release should be included among the home finance options signposted by the new Single Financial Guidance Body was taken up by the Communities and Local Government Committee’s Housing for Older People report in February 2018, and endorsed by Government in its response in September 2018.
This year has also seen the expansion of the Council’s executive team, with the appointment of Jim Boyd as chief executive officer in July 2018 to work alongside David Burrowes as chairman and Donna Bathgate as chief operating officer.
Burrowes said: “More people than ever now see the logic in considering their property wealth alongside their other assets when they make financial plans for later life. The continuing growth of our membership means consumers can benefit from best practice in the advice and products available from a market buoyed by competition, choice and consumer confidence.
“2018 has seen equity release cement its place as a mainstream financial product and become a valuable tool in later life financial planning. Increased product flexibilities are giving older homeowners a wider range of options to suit varied circumstances, while staying true to the principle of consumer protection that has underpinned the market for nearly 30 years.
“As demand continues to grow, it is paramount that we maintain this consumer focus while improving understanding of modern equity release. Members are also committed to exploring new avenues and innovations to help people safely access their property wealth in retirement to meet fundamental social needs.”