Over £381 billion in equity release available to over-55s

Research by Canada Life has found that the amount of available equity within older homeowners’ properties rose to over £381 billion at the end of 2019.

Based on public data on UK property homeownership and the latest Nationwide Building Society house price figures, Canada Life analysis reveals that compared to Q4 2018, there is now over £1 billion more equity available to UK homeowners aged 55 and over.

Average house prices are up 1.4% year on year according to the latest Nationwide Building Society house price data. This has helped increase the overall equity stored in UK properties.

Alice Watson, Head of Marketing, Insurance at Canada Life Home Finance, said:

“These figures suggest that there is bigger potential for people looking to tap into their property wealth. Advisers we’ve spoken to predict that the market will grow to above £5 billion in 2020 and with house prices increasing, there’s an opportunity for over 55s to boost their retirement lifestyles using the value in their properties.

“Our own data shows us that people use equity release products for everything from home improvements and holidays, to everyday expenses. The rising costs of living, combined with increased property prices, mean that over-55s will need to continue to view their wealth holistically and recognise the role that property wealth can play in providing retirement income.”

The growth in property prices has also led to children and grandchildren looking to family and friends to help them get on the housing ladder. This is supported by research conducted by Canada Life, which revealed that advisers believe 59% of equity release customers in 2020 will use the product in this way, suggesting clients are looking for innovative ways to support their relatives to buy their first home.

Alice Watson adds:

“Our research with advisers suggests that one of the key motivations for taking out a lifetime mortgage in 2020 will be to financially support children or grandchildren. With more equity now available, homeowners will have greater opportunity to use their property wealth to offer financial support to their family, without needing to downsize their homes.”