SHIP says equity release growth is inevitable

Huge growth in the use of equity release is only a matter of time, says the Safe Home Income Plans group.

SHIP warns of the danger of talking down faster growth in the sector on the back of a Council of Mortgage Lenders report, published on March 14, which examined the UK equity release market.

The report looked at why growth in the sector in the UK was slower than in the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

But SHIP believes significant growth in the use of equity release products is inevitable, given the extent to which consumers have opted for property over pensions in saving for retirement.

The trade body says the quality of equity release schemes have improved, which has also helped growth in the sector.

Andrea Rozario, director-general of SHIP, says: “The reality is that declining levels of private pension provision and meagre state pension benefits will drive more people in this country to explore alternative ways to top up their income in later life.

“Some will work longer, but a very large number are already planning to use the value in their property.”

She adds: “All that is necessary for this sector to increase enormously in size is for consumers – and their opinion formers – to recognise the huge improvements that have been made to most equity release schemes.”

Rozario agrees with a point in the CML report that faster growth would be boosted if more of the “big guns” of the mortgage industry entered the equity release sector.

She says SHIP will launch measures to help boost consumer-focussed growth in the equity release market.

These include educational drives to help consumers make more informed decisions and holding talks with the government to help it realise the importance of equity release.