Threefold increase in number of equity release products

The number of equity release products has trebled over the past two years, according to new data from Key Partnerships.

There are now 144 different plans available, up from just 47 in October 2016.

This mushrooming of option, highlights the need for borrowers to get appropriate advice to ensure they have the most suitable product.

This market analysis shows 117 of these loans now allow ad hoc payments, and 103 enable customers to protect inheritance.

In contrast just 27 products allowed these options two years ago. Other major changes include the switch to fixed early repayment charges.

In total 80 plans now off this, compared to just nine in October 2016.

Meanwhile 73 plans offer ‘downsizing protection’ which was previously only available on seven deals.

Key Partnerships head Jason Ruse says: “Equity release lenders have embraced innovation and have expanded the options available to customers in response to growing demand.

“Unlike some other markets, the growth in product options has been driven by existing lenders looking to meet evolving customer needs rather than new providers entering the market.

“While the transformation in choices available is very welcome, it highlights the need for independent experts able to advise on the whole market, and to find the solutions that suit clients’ particular needs.”

This issue was recently highlighted in a report from the Intermediary Mortgage Lending Association.

This report called for the industry to take a more holistic approach to retirement advice, incorporating both pensions and mortgages.

It pointed out that almost £1bn was released through equity release products in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Equity Release Council, while the lifetime mortgage market is up 29 per cent since 2014.

IMLA executive director Kate Davies says: “This creates challenges for those providing financial advice, many of whom will be expert in one area – pensions, investments or mortgages – but who will not necessarily have the qualifications or permissions required to advise across the spectrum.

Ruse adds: “Advisers who do not regularly provide support for clients looking to make the most of their property wealth could through no fault of their own find their advice is not up to date as innovation is constantly increasing and expanding the options available.”



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