Key Retirement has revealed that pensioners are boosting their retirement income by an average £74,787 by cashing in on rising property prices.
The firm’s report builds on the data issued recently by the Equity Release Council and looks at many of the underlying trends amongst those releasing equity from their homes.
Its Equity Release Market Monitor for Q3 2015 shows the UK’s house price boom is making an increasing contribution to improving standards of living in retirement. Key’s analysis found 61% of customers use some or all of the cash to fund home or garden improvements and 31% spend money on holidays. Debt repayment still factors heavily in motivating older homeowners to release cash from their properties, 30% used housing equity to repay unsecured debts such as credit cards or loans whilst 28% repaid an outstanding mortgage.
Repayment of mortgage debt increasingly is being fuelled through the increase in interest only mortgages approaching the end of their term with insufficient, or no, repayment methods.
Total equity released in the three months to September 30th rose 19% to £470.9million from £394.8 million in the same three months last year, while completed plans rose nearly 7.5% to 6,297 from 5,858.
Customers released £74,788 on average compared with £67,500 in the three months to September 30th last year. On average, those releasing cash owned a house worth £278,141 compared with £264,600 last year.
Dean Mirfin, group director at Key Retirement, said: “Property wealth is making a massive contribution to retirement planning and the equity release market is growing rapidly in response to this. We expect that the market will continue its rapid growth as both HM Treasury and the regulator focus on how consumers can better understand the ways in which they can access and utilise wealth locked up in property.
“For millions of retired homeowners their biggest and most successful investment is their home and it makes sense to release money now to improve their standard of living. The reasons for releasing equity are varied which highlights how older borrowers are able to meet wide ranging needs through utilising their housing equity.”
Nearly a third of the total value released was in the South East where nearly £142 million of housing wealth was paid out. Completed plans rose 21% in London with total value released increased by 15% reflecting the growth in house prices. The South East saw a 39% increase in the total value released from the same quarter in 2014.
The total amounts released rose in 9 out of 12 regions across the country, while completed plans rose in 7 out of 12 regions. But growth in Northern Ireland has dropped by nearly half (47.8%) on Q3 2014 and completed plans dropped by 41.6%.
Standard drawdown plans accounted for 62% of sales during the quarter, while single advance lifetime mortgages made up 28% of sales. Enhanced drawdown and enhanced single advance lifetime mortgage plans, which offer higher loans to value to people with lifestyle or medical conditions, accounted for almost 10% of the market.