Research from Canada Life has revealed that a significant proportion of over-55s use equity release to make their homes safer and more comfortable as they get older.
Half (50 per cent) of Canada Life’s equity release customers used some, or all, of the equity they released from their property to fund home improvements in Q3 2018.
Nearly one in four (38 per cent) use equity release to make home improvements to add value or for extra enjoyment, while one in eight (12 per cent) customers use the funds to make adaptations for extra comfort and safety.
The findings come amid uncertainty over future funding of later life care in the UK. They also reflect previous research Canada Life conducted that found the majority of people (88 per cent) want to stay in their current property as they get old, as opposed to downsizing or moving into a care facility.
Canada Life Home Finance head of marketing and communications Alice Watson says: “We’ve long known that homeowners use equity release for more traditional home improvements, such as extensions and landscaping. But this data supports a trend of homeowners opting to stay in their family property for as long as possible, rather than move into care homes.
“As a result, we’re seeing people use the wealth stored up in their homes to futureproof them. In other words, to fund investments such as ramps, stairlifts or other additions that will make life easier if and when health deteriorates.
“It is a positive sign that a growing number of customers perceive their property wealth as part of their financial portfolio and are using equity release in a considered way. This holistic approach to financial planning means people are more likely to consider the fullest range of options available. This is particularly important when you consider that more of us will most likely need to fund our own later life care needs.”