The survey, conducted by Norwich Union, found 75% of those questioned would release equity for home improvements.
A further 40% would use the capital for a holiday, 33% on income generation, 32% on a new car and 15% to cover tuition fees.
Only 8% would use the equity for healthcare, leaving a possible 4% to be spent on Inheritance Tax mitigation.
Anthony Rafferty, head of marketing at Norwich Union Post Retirement, says: “This has shown that as many people use equity release to purchase a new car as to generate income.
“This confirms that equity release should no longer be seen as the last resort option for those in financial difficulty, but that it is also for those who want to improve their lifestyles or simply just treat themselves to some of life’s little luxuries.”
He says: “The most common uses for equity release are home improvements and funding a holiday. Other popular uses for the money released are to help children and grandchildren with tuition fees, healthcare and Inheritance Tax mitigation.”
The survey asked 250 NU customers who had taken out a plan in the last six months.