Equity release market increases by a third

Older homeowners released more than £313m from their homes in the first six months of this year as the equity release market continues to grow.

New figures from SHIP (Safe Home Income Plans), which represents the major equity release providers, show that the total equity release market was 33% higher in January to June 2002 compared with the same period last year, with Norwich Union seeing a 39% increase in its market share.

Figures from SHIP show that sales of mortgage-based equity release plans soared by 49%, continuing the trend of the past five years. In 1997 SHIP reported that total equity release sales were £70m for the whole year. This increased by over 700% to £572m in 2001.

Paul Stokes, head of marketing propositions for Norwich Union Equity Release, says: “These are fantastic results, for Norwich Union and for the equity release industry as a whole, and we expect this rapid market growth to continue.

“People are realising that equity release is good news, and once they have made the major decision to go ahead with it they are delighted with the benefits it provides. It can give them financial peace of mind later in life and help them maintain their standard of living at a stage when they have more time to enjoy it. For IFAs it is a great opportunity to offer their clients a financial product which they can benefit from immediately.”

“More and more people are becoming aware of the benefits it can bring and are using it as part of their broader financial planning. As well as releasing the money to enjoy it, equity release can be used to pre-fund long term care needs, or as part of inheritance tax planning.”