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Pensioners increasingly turning to equity release to boost income

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Pensioners in the UK are using equity release to boost their income by an average of £67,500, according to analysis carried out by over-55s financial provider Key Retirement.

The report, which builds on data issued recently by the Equity Release Council, suggests the total housing wealth paid out through equity release increased by 32 per cent in a year.

The Equity Release Council’s Market Monitor for Q3 2014 showed the UK’s house price boom is making an increasing contribution to improving standards of living in retirement.

While most of the money is being spent on leisurely pursuits such as gardening and travel, the report also highlighted that equity release is playing an increasingly important role in paying off debts.

Of those surveyed, 33 per cent of customers used the money to pay off credit cards or personal loans compared with 30 per ent for the same period in 2013. A further 28 per cent used equity release to pay off mortgages, up from 23 per cent last year.

The average customer released £67,500 compared with £57,286 in the three months to 30 September last year. On average, those releasing cash owned a house worth £264,600 compared with £248,200 last year.

Group director at Key Retirement Dean Mirfin said: “The strength of the housing market is giving retired homeowners increased confidence in using the wealth they have built up in their home to fund their retirement.

“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 evidence shows the money is being used sensibly and invested in home improvements, clearing outstanding debts and helping families.”

More than a quarter of the total value released was in the South East where nearly £102m in housing wealth was paid out. Growth in Northern Ireland was particularly strong where total value released increased by more than 160 per cent and plan sales increased by 86 per cent.



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