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Equity release lending dips at start of 2020

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Around £1.06bn of property wealth was accessed through equity release products in the first quarter of the year, down slightly from the £1.08bn which was completed in Q4 2019.

However, according to figures from the Equity Release Council (ERC), the January to March lending figures were the highest for any first quarter recorded, up 14 per cent on the same period last year where £936m was lent to customers. 

The council said this year-on-year growth was driven by a “return of consumer confidence” in the beginning of the year, following an uncertain 2019. 

David Burrowes, chairman of the ERC, said: “Pent-up demand from 2019 meant homeowners continued to look to property wealth in growing numbers for later life finance in January and February, backed by strong consumer protections and increasing product flexibility.” 

“Beyond the current uncertainty, property wealth will continue to play an important role as part of a multi-asset approach to meet financial needs in later life,” he added. 

Customer levels steady 

The quarter saw 11,079 new plans taken out, but fewer customers sought further advances on existing plans than in the previous quarter with 1,000 borrowers in Q1 2020 compared with 1,141 in Q4 2019. 

Some 21,884 new and returning customers were served during the quarter, up seven per cent from the 20,397 served the year before. 

Drawdown lifetime mortgages were the most popular during the period, accounting for 57 per cent of new plans agreed. This was down slightly however, on last year’s share of 64 per cent. 

Lump sum lifetime mortgages made up 43 per cent of new plans arranged in Q1 2020, up from 36 per cent in Q1 2019, with 4,811 new plans taken out in total.