The value of equity release lending hit a record high of £824m in the third quarter of this year, according to new figures from the Equity Release Council.
The figure represents the first time lending exceeded £800m for a single quarter and is a 44 per cent year-on-year rise compared to Q3 2016 and the highest figure recorded by the council since their records began in 2002.
Members of The Council recorded a total of 17,982 customers between July and September, up by 12 per cent from Q2. Of these, 9,905 of were new customers, representing a 17 per cent quarterly increase from Q2 and a 34 per cent annual rise compared with Q3 2016.
The remainder were made up of 6,849 returning drawdown customers releasing housing wealth in instalments (up from 6,566 in Q2) and 1,138 further advance customers agreeing extensions to existing plans (up from 1,002 in Q2).
Equity Release Council chairman Nigel Waterson says: “The sustained growth in housing wealth withdrawals is indicative of a wider shift in the way consumers are approaching their retirement planning, by taking a broader range of financial options into consideration.
“Property is, for many people, their largest asset and has the potential to play an increasingly important role in the future of retirement funding. The combination of rigorous safeguards and flexible products in today’s market is one reason why housing wealth is now being used to support a wide range of financial goals. These range from boosting pension income and supporting retirement lifestyles to funding home improvements and adaptations, consolidating debts and providing a living inheritance to younger generations.”