According to new figures compiled by equity release provider, Responsible Equity Release, homeowners have released 50% more equity from their homes over the past three months.
While UK house sales have fallen over the summer period – June to August – as homeowners have chosen to stay put rather than move, the equity release market has thrived. Since the General Election result in early June, the number of homeowners taking money out of their properties has risen 49.6%, compared to the previous quarter (March to May), as they use their properties as pension income boosters and to pay off mortgages.
Responsible Equity Release figures show that equity release plans arranged by homeowners averaged more than £100,000 over the past three months, with an average of £74,116 released from their properties immediately and an average additional borrowing facility of £35,514, to draw from, if and when they need the money.
The number of UK homeowners releasing equity from their homes over the past quarter also increased, up 28.4% on the previous three months, and 86.6% higher than the corresponding quarter in 2016.
Regionally, homeowners in the North West released more than double (102.3%) the amount of equity in August compared to July. While, the total amount of equity released by homeowners in the East of England in August was 55.3% higher than in July. Individually, Scottish homeowners released an average of £39,068 in August versus £23,702 in July, an increase of 64.8%.
London saw a 17.2% drop in the total amount of equity released by homeowners in August compared to July, with an average amount of £174,489 last month. That drop off in the total amount of equity released by homeowners in the capital is likely due to the cooling London property market, which has performed worse than almost any other regional market in the UK over the past few months.
Steve Wilkie, managing director, Responsible Equity Release, comments: “The Bank of England has indicated that an interest rate rise is on the horizon, but a small increase in the base rate is unlikely to help Britain’s retirees who have suffered more than most during the past eight years of record low rates.
Whether rates will rise in the near future is anyone’s guess, and many people have decided there’s no point in waiting for that day. Instead, they have taken matters into their own hands and are using their one major asset, their property, to boost flagging income.
The Government seems to have forgotten the millions of retirees when it comes to its monetary policy, and equity release has stepped up and proven a financial lifesaver. It has provided a viable and much-needed income stream, where savings and investments have failed to do so.
In particular, we have noticed how popular the drawdown option has become. Britain’s retirees aren’t about to blow all their money on holidays and sports cars, but knowing that they have an income tap facility in place that can be turned on when required is reassuring.”