Equity release on the increase

Equity release is on the increase in the UK, says new research by Norwich Union.

The data reveals that nearly one in ten (8%) of homeowners in the 55-70 age bracket are actively looking to equity release as a means of funding old age.

And despite repeated warnings about the Pension Timebomb, four out of five (82%) of older homeowners are planning to fund old age with their pension, while nearly half say they will use their savings.

The findings on the popularity of equity release reflect figures issued in August 2002 by Safe Home Income Plans, which represents the major equity release providers. They revealed that older homeowners released more than £313m in cash from their homes in the first six months of this year.

Norwich Union&#39s survey among 55-70 year olds nationwide also reveals:

• Financing retirement is the key concern for 18% of respondents

• The biggest worry, named by over one third of people (36%), is losing their partner, with 29% most worried about ill health

• Financial concerns mean one in ten (11%) is planning to sell their current home and move to a cheaper property, and

• Just one% would ask other members of their family for money to help them in their retirement

The research also says people are shying away from the taboos of money, getting old and death. As few as 14% of older parents have discussed financial concerns with their grown-up children.

Paul Stokes of Norwich Union adds: “No-one likes to acknowledge that they&#39re getting old, but change can be sudden and it&#39s important to embrace the subject, particularly as talking about these things helps you to prepare for the future.

“And while some may feel perfectly well-equipped to broach potentially sensitive discussions with loved ones, our survey also found that over one in three adults wish there was more information available to help families have difficult conversations.”