Last month I said equity release needed to punch above its weight and kick on towards mainstream acceptance. Some may claim that the market is doing fine but I feel there is a distance left to travel.
Recent figures from the Equity Release Council show lending has jumped 11 per cent in the first half of 2015 – a pleasing figure when 2014 was record-breaking itself. Over £700m has been released in H1 2015 and the market is on track to set another record for overall lending.
The industry should be breaking records year-on-year and anything less would be surprising. Look at some simple statistics.
Aviva’s recent Real Retirement Report shows the average 45- to 74-year-old homeowner owns a property worth £286,126 and has savings and investments totalling £53,793. The average annual retirement income target the over-45s set themselves is just over £12,500. So there is an obvious problem: people have not saved enough. But an answer is staring them in the face: their home.
The challenge for our industry is to show that modern equity release is safe and versatile and can provide the funds that many will desperately need in retirement.
Once this is achieved, the mainstream awaits.