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Family gifting pushes equity release to record levels

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Written by: John Fitzsimons
09/05/2018
Around one in four pensioners are releasing equity from their properties to support their family, the latest equity release market monitor from Key Retirement has revealed.

The numbers using their property wealth for gifting has jumped from 22% to 26% in the first quarter according to the study, with the money going towards house deposits, university fees, holidays and debt repayment.

Dean Mirfin, chief product officer at Key Retirement, said that gifting is a “major motivation” for equity release, adding it is more often a case of parents and grandparents wanting to gift rather than being asked for help.

He said: “They’re motivated by the desire to help when the money is really needed and being around to see the difference that it makes. In addition, equity release enables them to have some control over how the money is ultimately used.

“They are being helped in this by a very competitive market place with rates fixed for life at their lowest ever levels as increased competition and new lenders means rates on plans are lower than many mainstream lenders’ variable rates.”

Later life debt

However, tackling pensioner debt was also a big driver for sales in the quarter. Around one in five borrowers used the proceeds to pay down mortgage debt, while almost a third (30%) paid off credit cards and loans.

The average amount of equity released was a little over £74,000.

The amount released overall to the end of March jumped by 23% on last year to a record high of £777m, with plan sale numbers also increasing by 22% to 10,495.

Drawdown plans accounted for two-thirds (68%) of all sales, with enhanced drawdown making up 16% of overall sales. The remainder were lifetime mortgages.

See YourMoney’s Downsize vs equity release: what’s the right decision for you? for more information.

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