TLE Property

Over 55’s forced to draw £17bn of property equity to survive

By Bea Patel, TLE Property Editor and Director of Shop for an Agent

The spiralling cost of home ownership in the UK has continued to see many priced out of the market, with those fortunate enough drawing on the bank of mum and dad as the only option in getting that first foot on the ladder.

However, research by eMoov found that it isn’t just those at the start of the property ladder struggling to get by in the current economic climate, but also those in the later stages of life are having to draw equity from their property in order to survive.

There has been a dramatic increase in people over 55 drawing on the equity of their property to get by. £17bn of funding has been provided to 350,000 homeowners since 1991, a third of which has been released in the last five years alone.

Equity release plans are long-term agreements based on indefinite terms that often last until the customer either moves into care or passes away. There is no payment required or interest due on the amount paid out until this point, and an equity release provides better long-term security than a residential mortgage.

During the second half of 2015, the Equity Release Council recorded that homeowners aged 55+ across the UK released housing wealth of £898m, the largest of any half year on record which brought the total to £1.61bn, which is the highest previously seen.

Figures also show a notable increase in those 85+ taking out equity release, accounting for 5.9 per cent, nearly double that of 2014. Data suggests that for many, the cost of living coupled with the repayment of their mortgage means their private and state pensions are inadequate. Additionally, equity release provides a source of income to fund this as well as home care and other costs incurred during retirement.

Depending on if they opt for a drawdown release or a lump sum, equity release customers across the UK are able to boost their finances by between 109 and 179 week’s full-time take home pay, taking an average of £49,607 in equity through a first drawdown withdrawal, or as much as an average of £81,324 in one lump sum.

This is highest in London where the average lump sum increases to £209,739, falling to £102,184 in the South East and £78,531 in the South West. The lowest amount on offer across the UK is in Scotland where the average lump sum reaches just £39,384.

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