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Drawdown lifetime mortgages on the up: ERC

The number of drawdown lifetime mortgages taken out in Q2 2019 rose 5 per cent on the previous quarter, according to the Equity Release Council.

Of all new plans taken out between April and June, 67 per cent were drawdown mortgages, the largest portion since Q4 2017.

Additionally, there were 3,502 new lump sum lifetime mortgages taken out in Q2 2019, higher than any quarter until Q2 2018 despite being the lowest quarterly total seen over the year, adds the trade body.

The average size of new drawdown plans remained broadly similar between Q1 and Q2 this year, marginally falling from £63,166 to £62,416.

However, the average amount reserved for housing wealth increased from 35,903 to £37,069 in the same time frame.

Furthermore, the average size of a new lump sum plan taken out in Q2 fell 4 per cent to £93,712.

The total number of clients served rose by 2 per cent in Q2 reaching 20,866 and was up 3 per cent year-on-year.

Although data collected by the ERC shows that the number of new clients was down by 1 per cent on Q1, falling to 10,731.

Returning customers rose the research outlines, increasing by 7 per cent to 9,154.

Looking at total lending, between April and June the figure fell 3 per cent compared to Q2 2018, dropping to £911.3m, and year-on-year this figure decreased by 6 per cent.

A total of £1.85bn was unlocked in housing wealth in H1 2019, up on the £1.84bn recorded the year before. New plans agreed rose marginally from 21,490 in H1 2018 to 21,585 in H1 2019, and the total number of customers served rose from 38,912 to 41,263 in the same time frame.

Equity Release Council chairman David Burrowes says: “The number of people drawing on housing wealth in later life remains high by historic standards and remains an important mainstream funding option for many, despite short-term activity inevitably showing signs of the uncertainty that has impacted other areas of the economy in the current political climate.

“The long-term trend of an ageing population with more individual responsibility for funding retirement and lifestyle needs in later life is unchanged. The emergence of drawdown as the most common product choice shows how innovation has given customers more flexible options to build their plans around.”

More 2 life chief executive Dave Harris says: “Looking to the future, we believe that it is vital for lenders in this sector to innovate and add more product choice in this area in order provide the flexibility that customers’ desire.

Advisers also have a huge role to play in the expansion of the equity release industry and we need more advisers to take CeMAP or at least keep abreast of the latest industry trends.

“The current uncertain political and economic climate has contributed to the slowdown in equity release growth in the past three months, but an ageing population and shrinking pension pots will ensure that equity release remains an increasingly popular lending option in the future.”

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