Each year you hear experts predict this is the year that the equity release sector will take off although the expected boom has never come.
Many consumers have long been sceptical of the sector. This could be down to a lack of understanding of how the products work, the cost of such plans and the poor reputation the sector had in the past.
But it has made steady progress in recent years, with total lending up 16 per cent between 2012 and 2013.
And earlier this month high-street giant Santander admitted it was assessing whether to enter the sector. So too is Legal & General.
Further, Equity Release Council chairman Nigel Waterson predicts a raft of new entrants over the next 18 months, some of which being household names.
Why is this? Waterson believes the MMR is partly responsible as criteria for lending to older borrowers has tightened. Others suggest an ageing population and the mandatory guidance being introduced as part of the Government’s new pensions freedoms will mean take-up of equity release plans will improve.
But this is not a forgone conclusion. The introduction of guaranteed guidance on retirement options does not automatically mean people will take up the option of releasing equity in their home. There are, of course, alternatives to a lifetime mortgage or home reversion plan.
However, the conditions for growth have never been better. It is now down to providers and advisers to work together to make sure products are developed which meet the needs of those now at or entering retirement.