Despite Britain’s entry into an official recession, 57% of IFAs felt that there had been more interest in equity release among consumers during the last three months of 2008 than during the initial half of last year and their expectations suggest promise for 2009.
However, 58% of IFAs also expect consumer confidence to dip over the coming months if uncertainty within the banking sector continues and 42% expressed concern that falling house prices are wrongly being portrayed as detrimental to equity release choice.
The influential power of the media has been called upon to transform attitudes to equity release.
Currently, 65% of IFAs remain concerned about the negativereputation portrayed in the media and 88% believe that positive media coverage would act as the main catalyst for increasing future growth in the equity release market.
Jon King, managing director of Hodge Lifetime, says: “In the current environment, with stretched personal savings and inadequate retirement income, it is perhaps unsurprising that people are looking to equity release in order to make the most of the money built up in their homes.
” The findings reflect this consumer thinking with IFAs reporting strong interest over the last three months.
“However, it is clear that both trade and national media have important roles to play to properly inform IFAs and the general public about the benefits of this product area.”