Lifetime rate war appears to be over

Finally there has been a period of steadiness in the lifetime mortgage market, which at least allows us to take stock of where the market leaders are positioned. New business levels, as many will be aware, have been disappointing in the first half of the year.

But interest rates appear to be at their lowest. Certainly existing providers are stating that they do not have the room to manoeuvre any lower than where they are now. The rate war appears to be over for the time being, which makes it easier for advisers to stay on top of what is happening. To date there is still not one place where up-to-date data can be obtained on all lenders on a daily basis.

The rate differences between drawdown and fixed single advance are still a matter of much debate. Depending on when funds are drawn the cost difference for drawdown can still be higher. Prudential goes live in a couple of weeks which will provide the only open-ended drawdown option available at an initial annualised rate of 6.64% making it the lowest drawdown rate available at this time.

The final part of the rate battle may come in the form of Just Retirement. It is about to launch into the market with what is believed to be an offering of a fixed rate and a drawdown product. Just has made it clear it wants to attack this market head-on and capture a sizeable share. The good news for advisers is that it is also keen to help them into this market and will be hosting roadshows over the coming weeks to show its support for the equity release market.