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Scotland sees 39% spike in equity release borrowing

Julia Rampen
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Julia Rampen

Total equity release lending to Scottish homeowners rose by 39% in 2012 compared to the previous year.

The country also saw the number of plans increase by almost a fifth – the second highest after Northern Ireland, where plans increased by 32%, according to Key Retirement Solutions

As well as seeing a rise in lending over twice the national average, Scottish homeowners differed from the rest of the UK in their motivation for equity release. The major reason for releasing equity in Scotland is to meet the cost of bills and other day-to-day expenses, where most borrowers release equity for home improvements in other parts of the UK.

Key Retirement Solutions group director Dean Mirfin said the stability of the Scottish housing market meant there was less worry about borrowing against their property: “The growth in Scotland has also been more about awareness of equity release and loans being available. The population has latched onto not the big lifestyle reasons for doing it, but the benefits of comfort every day.”

Just under a fifth of equity release customers use some or all of the cash released to pay off mortgages, the research found.

The average customer taking out an equity release plan last year released £52,268 – nearly 7% higher than in 2011 – while total funds released increased 15% to almost £1bn.