£381bn in equity release available to over-55s

The amount of available equity to homeowners aged over 55-years-old has increased to over £381bn at the end of 2019, according to Canada Life.

Its analysis of public data and Nationwide Building Society house price figures revealed that the amount of equity available for over-55s increased by £1bn year-on-year.

Canada Life Home Finance head of marketing, Alice Watson, urged over-55s to “recognise the role that property wealth can play in providing for retirement”.

She added: “These figures suggest that there is bigger potential for people looking to tap into their property wealth.

“Advisers we’ve spoken to predict that the market will grow to above £5bn in 2020 and with house prices increasing, there’s an opportunity for over-55s to boost their retirement lifestyles using the value in their properties.”

Earlier this month, Royal London analysis revealed that property wealth has delivered over £13bn in extra income via equity release products since 2015, while research by Defaqto showed that equity release products were being offered at record low interest rates to “tempt” older savings.

Equity release products interest rates have "plummeted" over the last 18 months, according to Defaqto, with the average interest rate in mid-2018 around 5.4 per cent, compared to the current average of 4.55 per cent.

Average house prices are up 1.4 per cent year-on-year according to the latest Nationwide Building Society house price data, which has helped increase the overall equity stored in UK properties.

Watson concluded: “Our research with advisers suggests that one of the key motivations for taking out a lifetime mortgage in 2020 will be to financially support children or grandchildren.

“With more equity now available, homeowners will have greater opportunity to use their property wealth to offer financial support to their family, without needing to downsize their homes.”

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